In a move that will set a precedence for the other states and territories, the NSW government is set to introduce new laws to improve safety outcomes in the gig economy and food delivery industry.
The new measures include ensuring riders are provided with personal protective equipment by food delivery platforms, the implementation of compulsory induction training, and a new penalty system for riders to crack down on repeated unsafe practices.
Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said the new laws come in the wake of a recent education and safety blitz that found “continued widespread non-compliance” with the state’s road and work health and safety laws.
“It is completely unacceptable that our inspectors found almost nine in ten food delivery riders were not wearing safe, hi-visibility clothing and 40 percent were observed riding in an unsafe manner.
“Enough is enough. Following the tragic deaths of four riders late last year we immediately increased education and compliance to try to lift safety standards but we can no longer stand by while riders continue placing themselves and others at risk.”
The changes will be implemented by amendments to the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 and were recommended in the final report of the Joint Taskforce into Food Delivery Rider Safety, which was released today.
The report also recommends a number of operational changes including enhanced reporting of incidents, increased compliance activity by SafeWork, Transport for NSW, and NSW Police and issuing riders with a unique identification number.
However, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) slammed the tighter regulations, claiming they would put more pressure on workers to work long hours and rush deliveries, further endangering their lives.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said underpaid riders should not be targeted as they are the symptoms of an exploitative industry they cannot control.
“These new laws are not about protecting the most exploited workers in our society. This is a shield for Silicon Valley behemoths and their sham business models which are literally killing riders on our roads.”
“The NSW Government is using its farcical Taskforce to prop up its attack on workers. Riders and the TWU withdrew from the Taskforce over strong suspicions it was being held hostage by tech giants like Uber and that riders suffering under their deadly systems would become a public target.”
“Riders will be tracked, targeted, and penalised by police while companies are still not required to provide helmets.”
“It is disappointing to see Mr Anderson blaming the deaths of four riders on this exploited and pressured workforce. Riders can lose their below minimum wage job in an instant if they cannot meet the unrealistic deadlines set by apps and algorithms – an issue the NSW Government has refused to listen to or address.”
The new measures are in addition to the Food Delivery Rider Safety Taskforce’s Industry Action Plan in which delivery platforms committed to 50 actions to improve the health and safety of their riders.
The Government will commence consultation on the new regulations in September and expects to finalise the changes by 1 November 2021.
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