A UK High Court has ruled that gig economy workers are entitled to key health and safety protections including the provision of personal protective equipment and the right to stop work in response to serious and imminent danger.
The landmark judicial review won by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) against the UK government means workers in the UK gig economy will be granted the rights they are entitled to under European safety and health law.
According to TUC estimates, one in 10 adults – about 4.7 million people – are involved in gig economy work.
The IWGB, which represents over 5000 workers, successfully argued the COVID-19 pandemic had made it more urgent to address the gap in protection.
In response, IOSH said it was crucial the new measures were implemented quickly, emphasising the importance of good safety and health standards during a global pandemic, with the urgent need to support both occupational and public health.
Richard Jones, Head of Policy and Regulatory Engagement at IOSH said “responsible organisations should already be protecting workers during this pandemic, to support both occupational and public health.”
“No one should have their safety and health put at risk by the work they do, regardless of whether they are on a permanent contract or a ‘gig’ worker. We would like to see a swift response to this to ensure this is the case.”
“It’s vital that those in the ‘gig economy’ who provide services to the public, such as road transport drivers, taxicab drivers and chauffeurs, are not exposed to Covid-19 at work.”
IOSH has previously highlighted safety and health risks around gig work. In 2017, it commissioned research that investigated levels of consistency in safety, health and wellbeing provisions for people in various types of employment.
The study showed how workers operating in non-permanent work report receiving fewer provisions than their permanent, full-time colleagues.
In the same year, it supported the Matthew Taylor report on ‘Good Work’ which highlighted the Health and Safety Executive’s view on the need to address the challenges faced by temporary workers and that employment contract arrangements do not change what employers must do – they have a duty to manage workplace risks and should treat workers on non-standard contracts no differently to other workers.
Mitchell Services Case Study
The following video demonstrates how myosh worked closely with the team at Mitchell to improve safety in their organisation by simplifying key processes and workflows, and providing a system that can be used in a variety of working environments both remote and offline. As a result, myosh is used at all levels in the organisation – from the Drill crews in the field all the way up to the CEO.