A city councillor has been ordered by WorkSafeBC to make changes following two robberies at his movie rental store in downtown Kamloops.
Denis Walsh said Moviemart was investigated in late January, after staff were robbed at knife point on two separate occasions.
A WorkSafeBC inspection report states eight violations require action, including an incident investigation for each robbery that occurred in January that identifies the cause, possible unsafe conditions contributing to the incidents and changes that could prevent them in the future.
“In a workplace assessed as posing a risk of injury to workers from violence arising out of their employment and where elimination of the risk is not possible, the employer has failed to establish procedures, policies or work environment arrangements to minimize the risk,” the inspection report states.
Other violations outlined by WorkSafe BC included: not holding monthly health and safety meetings, not giving orientation and training to new or young workers that included topics such as working alone and risks of robbery and having no first-aid kit on site. Walsh told KTW employee safety is a top priority. Prior to the robberies, he said he had in place two cameras and a panic button, which hangs on a lanyard but is rarely worn by staff.
He said staff were also told that if they were ever robbed, to “give them the money, co-operate and, when they leave, call the police.”
“That’s what they did, but I don’t have it written down,” Walsh said.
After the robberies, Walsh said he spoke to his staff and further improved security. The store now keeps just $50 cash in the register and more frequently makes cash drops.
In addition, Walsh said he is planning to invest $1,000 into security measures, adding another video camera and installing a front door lock system that will allow staff to buzz in customers. Walsh said he also recently started texting staff who work alone every two to three hours and downloaded an app to provide him the ability to watch the store.
Asked if such measures should have already been in place, Walsh said the movie store at St. Paul Street and Fourth Avenue has not had problems with robberies in the past.
“We’ve never been robbed in 36 years, so why would you go to that second level?” he said.
Walsh said he will comply with WorkSafe BC’s orders, though he feels they “came in fairly strongly.” He said as a small business owner, he does not hold health and safety meetings similar to that of big corporations, nor have written procedures, but instead meets with staff regularly.
“I want my employees to be as safe as possible,” he said.
Walsh said Moviemart staff were “a little jittery” for the first couple of weeks after the robberies, but have since relaxed due to the extra precautions being taken. The robberies appeared to be linked to a string of other downtown robberies, which took place in a short period and also hit McCleaners and Whispers downtown.