Editor’s Note: A link in this article directs to a video that contains graphic and disturbing content. This material is not suitable for all readers.
LANGLEY (NEWS 1130) – Describing it has a health and safety issue is an understatement.
Shocking video is circulating online showing a woman at a Tim Hortons in Langley defecating on the floor, throwing her feces at the employees behind the counter before she wipes with a napkin and smears it on some of the items on the counter near the cash register.
Mounties were called in and the woman was issued some paperwork for her to appear in court at a later date.
It’s unclear why she was upset or what prompted her actions, however, you can see there was some sort of verbal argument with the staff.
You may think this case is one in a million, but unfortunately, it’s not.
The BC Federation of Labour admits it’s an issue and cases like this happen often. They even have a term for it: “Biological Substances Used As Weapons.”
The industries in which the federation gets reports like this include restaurants, prisons, healthcare, long-term care facilities, education and film.
“We’ve actually seen this where people aren’t happy that the film is being shot in their neighbourhood,” explains BCFED President Irene Lanzinger.
She adds the onus falls on employers to ensure their workers are safe and that they conduct “risk assessments” so those who work for them know how to handle a similar situation or how to de-escalate it.
“Employers are required to do a risk assessment and to train their employees. In particular to train their employees if they’re going to deal with people who have mental health issues, who have special needs, or deal with people who are angry for one reason or another. It’s a very concerning episode.”
So, what exactly is a risk assessment?
“You have to do a risk assessment around an irate customer. That irate customer could cause you harm and other types of violence could occur in a restaurant or other work locations. This is all part of how you train employees to deal with situations that they might face.”
Lanzinger adds employers need to also put in every measure they can to protect employees from situations that could be described as “unhealthy” and “unsafe” for them.
What you may be wondering is how do you train an employee to be prepared to have feces whipped at them.
“[That’s] a very good question. There are things that happen that are difficult to know what should’ve been done. To de-escalate an irate customer, whether that was possible, I don’t know this particular case,” says Lanzinger. “Employees need to be trained on how to deal with customers that are irate, that may cause them some harm and I don’t know if that was done in this case, but these situations do occur and employers need to figure out a way to keep their employees healthy and safe in all of these situations.”
The Federation of Labour says other issues they see are people using “pee-bombs” and needles when they’re angry.