‘Higher ac­ci­dent risk in gig econ­omy’

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - TV & RADIO -

The pres­sures that come with be­ing a self-em­ployed courier or taxi driver may sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease the risk of be­ing in­volved in a col­li­sion, a new re­port by Univer­sity Col­lege London has found.

The ma­jor­ity of those sur­veyed – 63% – are not pro­vided with safety train­ing on man­ag­ing risks on the road.

More­over, 65% said that they are not given any safety equip­ment such as a high vis­i­bil­ity vest and more than 70% re­sort to pro­vid­ing their own.

Dr Nicola Christie and Heather Ward (UCL Cen­tre for Trans­port Stud­ies) car­ried out 48 in-depth in­ter­views with driv­ers, rid­ers and their man­agers, and an­a­lysed 200 re­sponses to an on­line sur­vey taken by driv­ers and rid­ers. The par­tic­i­pants in­cluded self-em­ployed couri­ers who de­liv­ered parcels and food, and self-em­ployed taxi driv­ers who re­ceived their jobs via apps.

More than two in five (42%) of driv­ers and rid­ers re­ported that their ve­hi­cle had been dam­aged as a re­sult of a col­li­sion while work­ing, with a fur­ther one in 10 re­port­ing that some­one had been in­jured. Fur­ther­more, 8% re­ported that they them­selves had been in­jured, with 2% say­ing some­one else had been in­jured.

“Our find­ings high­light that the emer­gence and rise in the pop­u­lar­ity of gig work for couri­ers could lead to an in­crease in risk fac­tors af­fect­ing the health and safety of peo­ple who work in the gig econ­omy and other road users,” said Ms Ward.

“As more work­ers en­ter the econ­omy and com­pe­ti­tion rises, the num­ber of hours they need to work and dis­tances they must travel to earn a sta­ble in­come both in­crease.

“We don’t know ex­actly how far it ex­tends as not all com­pa­nies need to re­port the num­ber of self-em­ployed couri­ers they use to the gov­ern­ment.”

The UCL re­port in­cludes a list of rec­om­men­da­tions for com­pa­nies us­ing self-em­ployed couri­ers and taxi driv­ers limit the pres­sure they are un­der.

These in­clude in­tro­duc­ing time blocks for couri­ers to sign up and be paid for, rather than a drop rate. If used, drop to rates should take into ac­count the time taken to travel safely within the speed limit and per­form ad­min­is­tra­tive func­tions such as scan­ning parcels and ob­tain­ing sig­na­tures.

Mo­bile phones should not be al­lowed to cause a dis­trac­tion, af­ter the re­sults showed that 40% of those us­ing an app found them to be off-putting while driv­ing or rid­ing. Most of the sur­veyed couri­ers on scoot­ers, mo­tor and pedal bikes re­ported re­ceiv­ing work through an app which played a noise at in­ter­vals to alert them to a job with a fixed timewin­dow.

Other risk points for driv­ers and rid­ers in­clude tired­ness from over­work and the in­tense pres­sure of self-em­ployed par­cel de­liv­ery, with many re­port­ing reg­u­lar near misses and col­li­sions.

One said: “You must stay within your time win­dows. The cus­tomer gets a de­liv­ery win­dow when the par­cel will be de­liv­ered and if you go out of those win­dows, you get fined for it.”

Pro­fes­sor Christie said: “In pre­vi­ous years the UK had a good road safety record, but de-reg­u­la­tion over the few years has left self-em­ployed couri­ers and driv­ers at an in­creased of ex­ploita­tion.

“The Health and Safety Ex­ec­u­tive has reg­u­la­tions on safety at work, but these don’t ap­ply to those whose work takes place on pub­lic high­ways.

“I hope to see the rec­om­men­da­tions in this re­port taken on board by the De­part­ment for Trans­port and in­cor­po­rated into health and safety as the gig econ­omy is set to con­tinue to in­crease.”

Mick Rix, GMB Na­tional Of­fi­cer, said: “The damn­ing con­clu­sions of this re­port back up what GMB has been say­ing for years – gig econ­omy em­ploy­ers, par­tic­u­larly courier com­pa­nies, are ex­pos­ing de­liv­ery driv­ers, rid­ers, and the un­ac­cept­able risks to their health and safety.

“GMB calls on the Gov­ern­ment to bring for­ward leg­is­la­tion to en­hances driver and pub­lic safety – the same laws which ex­ist for those work­ing in the more tra­di­tional em­ploy­ment mod­els.” last risk reg­u­la­tions

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.