In a landmark ruling released this morning, two-person armoured car crews have been declared unsafe by a federal health and safety officer after an exhaustive investigation.
“This ruling upholds what we have been saying – that two-person crews are unsafe for the crew members, and the public,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
Dias has requested a meeting with federal Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney to discuss safety in the armoured car industry.
The ruling comes after a Brinks messenger in Peterborough, Ontario, refused to carry cash to and from an automated teller machine without a guard, saying it was unsafe for him to carry the money alone while the other crew member stayed in the truck. It’s what’s known as a “one-off” crew, in that one member is off the truck during a cash delivery or pickup.
“The diminished ability of a ‘one-off’ crew to monitor for the risk of exposure to the known hazard of assault and injury during a robbery attempt while servicing a front loading ATM machines and during travel to and from the truck constitutes a danger,” health and safety officer Bob Tomlin said in his ruling.
A two-person crew was robbed this week at Toronto’s Fairview Mall. No one was hurt in the ensuing shootout, but the robbery demonstrates the dangers faced by workers and the public, and highlights the need for minimum employee training, vehicle specifications, crew compliments and safety equipment.
The use of two-person crews is among many issues Dias plans to raise in a meeting with Blaney. Dias will also press for a task force on the armoured car industry to undertake comprehensive policy research, gather stakeholders’ views and develop recommendations and legislative guidance to address a patchwork of out of date and ineffective regulations for the industry.
Dias has yet to hear from Blaney about whether he will meet. The minister has met with the Teamsters.
For a copy of Unifor's review of the armoured car industry and complete recommendations to improve its safety, go to unifor.org/safecargo.
Unifor, which represents 2,000 workers in the armoured car industry, was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 with the merger of the Canadian Autoworkers with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union. With more than 300,000 members, it is Canada’s largest union in the private sector.