MOM working with food delivery firms to improve safety after 5 riders killed on roads in 18 months
- MOM is working with food delivery firms to review work processes
- This is with a view to enhance road safety for riders
- Five of such riders have died in road accidents since January 2021, Dr Koh Poh Koon said
- The Senior Minister of State for Manpower said riders are not covered by the Work Injury Compensation Act
- However, the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers, set up by MOM in 2021, is reviewing this matter
SINGAPORE — The authorities are working with platform firms to enhance the safety of delivery riders to prevent road accidents, following the deaths of five such workers in work-related traffic accidents since January last year, Dr Koh Poh Koon said.
The Senior Minister of State for Manpower was in Parliament on Tuesday (July 5) responding to a question raised by Dr Tan Wu Meng, Member of Parliament for Jurong Group Representation Constituency, on how many food delivery platform workers have died from accidents over that period.
Dr Tan also asked whether the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will mandate delivery platforms to report non-fatal job-related injuries and near-misses, and if the ministry will consider tracking the compensation and support provided to families of those who have died or suffered serious injuries while on the job.
Dr Koh said that the Workplace Safety and Health Council is working with platform companies to review work processes and "enhance" the safety of platform workers on the road to prevent accidents from occurring.
In response to Dr Tan's question on whether MOM will require delivery platforms to provide baseline compensation commensurate with the Work Injury Compensation Act, Dr Koh said that the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers is also looking into strengthening financial protection in cases of work injury for delivery persons, private-hire car drivers and taxi drivers.
He said that this would fall under the Work Injury Compensation Act and would require companies to report work injuries to ensure platform workers are compensated.
In a supplementary question, Dr Tan asked if the Work Injury Compensation Act can protect flexible workers in the gig economy and if there is space to improve and provide a "fair outcome" when a delivery rider dies on the job.
He said: "As one resident said, no company should ever be allowed to send a message that when a worker dies, it's a 'you die, your problem'. Because, when a worker dies on the job, it is everyone's problem."
“As one resident said, no company should ever be allowed to send a message that when a worker dies, it's a 'you die, your problem'. Because, when a worker dies on the job, it is everyone's problem.Member of Parliament Tan Wu Meng”
In response to his question on why the Work Injury Compensation Act does not cover flexible workers in the gig economy, Dr Koh said that gig workers are classified as self-employed and are thus not covered under the Employment Act.
However, the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers set up by MOM last year is looking into the matter and taking the perspective that self-employed workers in the gig economy "may be subjected to management controls by the algorithms and platforms" and should therefore be protected by the Act.
He added that there are challenges in this reclassification of workers, which would take into consideration factors such as whether there is a provision of equipment and the expectations laid out for workers.
"So in adjudicating such disputes, we will look at the nature of the engagement and the relationship between the worker and the company to make a judgement."
The safety of delivery riders have been in the news for a while. Just last month, a 54-year-old GrabFood delivery rider died from injuries following a traffic accident near Waterway Point mall in Punggol on June 24.
In April, a delivery rider from Foodpanda died after being hit by a van along Gambas Avenue near Sembawang.
The 24-year-old rider Jason Tan, who was riding a motorcycle, was survived by his pregnant wife.