By Tara Gibson - November 19, 2019
Workplace safety is always a concern for companies, as it is their responsibility to keep employees safe from harm. There has been a large growth of the gig economy in recent years, which has transformed the modern workforce and upended traditional models for developing both a workplace safety culture as well as worker safety training, according to Seyfarth Shaw attorneys.So, what is gig economy? Gig economy refers to a general workforce environment in which short-term engagements, temporary contracts, and independent contracting is commonplace, Wonolo explains. Those who work for companies like Uber and Lyft, independent contractors, freelancers, and temporary staffing firm employees are all considered to be a part of the gig economy. According the Forbes, more than one third of U.S. workers are in the gig economy, which equates to approximately 57 million people. A huge number.
When somebody does an individual paid task, assignment, or job, this is considered a gig. A gig represents just a small portion of a worker’s income as a worker is typically aggregating a variety of tasks for different clients or companies, which in turn makes their cumulative earnings similar to a full-time salary. Some leverage short-term gigs as a side job to earn some extra cash part-time.
Wonolo tells us, “the gig economy operates on technology platforms that aim to connect workers looking for flexible work arrangements with the companies who need them in a centralized location, such as an app or website.” Companies such as Uber, a ride-sharing service, are specific technology platforms that connect those who are Uber drivers with those looking for transportation. These niche companies can range from copywriting tasks, to dog walkers, to housekeeping tasks.
The gig economy does not have the traditional employer to employee structure, as these jobs often don’t have workplace training or supervision. The new occupational hazards that have grown over the years has sparked labor groups, advocacy organizations, and state legislative bodies to concentrate their efforts to encourage gig companies to address safety risks in this changed environment. Some of the safety issues raised in the gig economy include the following, according to Seyfarth Shaw attorneys:
The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health have lobbied OSHA to make changes in the gig economy by enforcing workplace safety issues under a dual employer theory. “This would make the gig company responsible for safety compliance, even though the gig worker is not an employee of the gig company”, Seyfarth Shaw explains. They continue by recommending, “Gig companies should consult with counsel and safety professionals to learn how to address hazards and mitigate risks and liabilities.”
When somebody leaves for work, they expect to get home safely. This applies to those working in the gig economy as well. One great way to ensure remote and gig employees stay safe is by implementing an effective employee safety app. This safety app can help gig workers with common safety concerns on the job and attempt to protect them from harm. An app with an emergency call button, safety timer, and geo-targeted push notifications can guarantee employers can keep in touch with gig workers who are in a certain location.
Tara is a Marketing Coordinator on the Rave Mobile Safety marketing team. She loves writing about all things K-12 education, and manages the Rave social media channels. When she's not working, she's taking care of her smiley, shoe eating, Instagram-famous fur baby, Enzo!
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