Gig economy faces safety risks

A new study into drivers working as part of the ‘gig economy’ has laid bare the importance of businesses treating the management of occupational road risk as a mainstream health and safety work issue, said RoSPA.

The research by University College London revealed that 63% of self-employed couriers or taxi drivers surveyed are not provided with safety training on managing risks on the road, while 65% are not given any safety equipment.

The findings highlight mobile phones and apps, and time pressures as being among those issues which could cause an incident.

An estimated 25% to 33% of road casualties are work-related, and in 2016 work-related crashes resulted in 529 deaths and 5,269 serious injuries, showing the vital importance of businesses providing its drivers with the proper training and resources.

John Greenhough, fleet consultant at RoSPA, said, ‘The findings of the UCL study are worrying, considering the increasing prevalence of the gig economy, combined with the fact that around one third of all fatal and serious road traffic incidents involve someone who was at work at the time.’

‘This danger is highlighted by those surveyed as part of the research, more than 40% of whom reported their vehicle had been damaged as a result of a collision while working, with one in 10 saying someone had been injured.’