NSW: new laws to drive safety outcomes in the gig economy

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Friday, 4 June, 2021 - 12:15
Industry news
New South Wales

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, said NSW Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson.

“These laws have 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,” Minister Anderson said.

“It is completely unacceptable that our inspectors found almost nine in ten food delivery riders were not wearing safe, hi-visibility clothing and 40 per cent 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.

“That’s why we will now introduce the toughest safety requirements for food delivery platforms and riders anywhere in Australia.

“Together these measures provide the necessary regulatory tools to drive compliance within the industry and ultimately help create a culture where safety comes first.”

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.

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.

“Improving safety on our roads is our number one priority,” said NSW Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance.

“Everyone deserves to return home safely to their families at the end of the working day and these new laws will play a big role in ensuring that happens.

“The message is clear – safety must always come first. You must abide by these new measures or you will be caught, you will be fined and you will be called out.”

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.

For more information download the final report.