29 Nov 2022
Following the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers’ recommendation that platform companies be required to provide work injury compensation to platform workers, the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Council’s Delivery Safety Workgroup has released a new set of WSH guidelines on delivery safety (refer to Annex A for a summary of the guidelines, and Annex B for the Workgroup composition).
2. The Advisory Committee’s recommendations provide platform workers with financial protection in case of work injury. The new WSH guidelines thus complement the Advisory Committee’s recommendations by helping delivery companies and intermediaries prevent injuries from occurring in the first place. Reducing the likelihood of accidents not only makes delivery work safer for delivery workers, it also moderates the work injury insurance premiums borne by companies in the delivery sector.
3. The WSH Council had formed the Delivery Safety Workgroup in October 2021 given the rising number of fatal delivery accidents, which continues to be a key concern – see graph below.
While the Workgroup acknowledged that accidents might be linked to the inherent risks in 2-wheeled vehicle commuting (13 of the most recent 16 cases involved 2-wheeled vehicles) as well as, in general, the risk of being on the road where accidents could arise from the behaviour of other road users, the Workgroup felt that delivery companies and intermediaries should do as much as possible within their control to prevent accidents.
4. It is crucial for delivery companies and intermediaries to influence and empower their riders and drivers to take personal ownership of their safety, as they are not at a worksite and are often on-the-go. The guidelines considered inputs from delivery riders gathered by the National Delivery Champions Association (NDCA) , and cover three broad recommendations that delivery companies and intermediaries can consider:
i) Create stronger motivation to be safe to mitigate any inadvertent temptation among riders/drivers to rush deliveries;
ii) Equip riders/drivers with the knowledge on how to be safe; and
iii) Reduce riders’ exposure to unsafe situations, such as carrying heavy loads and rushing during wet weather.
5. Of the above, Advisor to the NDCA, Ms Yeo Wan Ling, expresses support: “We welcome the Guidelines set out by the WSH Council, which is a step in enhancing work safety for delivery service workers. They complement the recommendations recently announced by the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers on strengthening work injury protection for platform workers, including delivery service workers. NDCA regards the safety and well-being of delivery riders and drivers as a priority and the issue of heavy delivery loads is an area that we are concerned with. We look forward to partnering the WSH Council and Nanyang Technological University’s Transport Research Centre in its study on load limits of delivery riders and the safeguards to protect them. ”
6. The guidelines were formulated with extensive input from industry players’ best practices and upcoming WSH plans, which have been cited as case examples to further encourage cross-learning. For example, digital platforms can better understand how courier companies and other delivery companies maintain safe riding, and vice versa. (A list of companies that shared their best practices in the new guidelines are profiled in Annex C)
7. President of the Digital Platform Industry Association (DPIA), Mr Jason Parke, welcomed the guidelines: “As part of the WSHC Delivery Services Workgroup, DPIA worked alongside its tripartite members during the development process. The WSH Guidelines is in line with DPIA’s existing measures and policies to enhance our riders’ safety, health, and well-being. DPIA is committed to set industry best practices for safety, and we have consistently engaged our riders and emphasised that their safety and health are of utmost importance when delivering orders. We believe that the WSH Guidelines will encourage greater emphasis on rider safety and well-being.”
8. Advisor to the Advisory Committee for Platform Workers, Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Manpower, called out to delivery companies and intermediaries to adopt the guidelines: “Many Singaporeans benefit from the services of our delivery workers. It is only right that we provide them with safe working conditions. I urge delivery companies and intermediaries to follow this set of guidelines to enhance the safety of our delivery workers, and make delivery work a safer vocation.”