What is a gig economy?
The gig economy is also called the platform economy, share economy, and on-demand work.
It generally refers to a situation where a person (gig worker) is hired through an app or website to carryout work for a third party. The app or website is produced and managed by an organisation called a platform.
Who’s who in the gig economy
A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must look after the health and safety of their workers.
The concept of ‘worker’ is broad and includes employees and contractors.
Contractors can be a PCBU and a worker at the same time.
The gig worker will generally undertake a short-term service or provide a product to a customer.
A delivery rider is considered a worker if they ‘carry out work for’ the platform whose app is used to provide the delivery services and/or the food outlet whose food/drink is delivered.
As PCBUs, platforms and food outlets must do whatever is reasonably practicable to ensure the health and safety of their gig workers.
This includes identifying hazards and assessing and controlling their risks. Common hazards include not just riding/driving on roads and associated physical/environmental hazards, but also:
- economic pressures that may cause workers to take unnecessary risks
- unsafe systems of work such as unrealistic delivery times
- violence and harassment from customers
- unsuitable or poorly maintained equipment
- shift work and fatigue
- using mobile phones while driving/riding.
Other things to do are:
- providing information, training, instruction and supervision that workers need to work safely. This may include on-road law requirements such as wearing helmets
- if you provide equipment, ensuring it is safely maintained
- consulting with workers and their representatives.
You must also ensure that the health and safety of others is not put at risk from the work carried out by your business, so far as is reasonably practicable. This includes pedestrians and other road users who are near the worker as they make their pick ups and deliveries.
Workers also have duties, including:
- taking reasonable care of your own health and safety
- ensuring your actions don’t affect the health and safety of others, including pedestrians and other road users
- complying with any reasonable instruction given to you by the platform and/or food outlets about work health and safety matters
- co-operating with reasonable policies or procedures of the platform and/or food outlet relating to work health and safety that have been communicated to you.