The article reported that four delivery riders had been killed in the past 2 months. The first thing that struck me was obviously the sad nature of the events. Then I started thinking about how this would be interpreted in other industries outside of the gig economy. Let’s imagine that a new mining, manufacturing or construction process had commenced. If a new process in any of these industries had lead to numerous injuries and multiple fatalities, that could be directly linked to this new process, there would most certainly be significant action from our WorkSafe authorities. Yet, I don’t think I’ve heard much (maybe I’m missing something, please let me know if this is the case) action being directed towards this situation.
There is no doubt that the world we are living in is changing rapidly before our eyes. Technology and social media mean the workers are working in a different way (for good or bad). We need to make sure that we are protecting the safety of these workers and that they are not being missed out due to the nature of the work that they do. Particularly it is important that they are not being pushed or coerced to do things that are potentially unsafe.
The good news from my point of view is that the process of ensuring safety is always going to be the same. The risk management process of;
- identifying hazards
- assessing the risk
- controlling the risk,
- and monitoring those controls
still works. It is my suggestion that we missing at least a few of these steps for some young workers, working in this gig economy, who are just trying to make some money.