Although there have been a couple of incidents in which drivers have been killed or badly hurt, Way says he does not believe that there is an increase in those types of assaults, as electronic payments have become the norm. “Drivers aren’t carrying as much cash as they used to,” he notes. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety in Hamilton, Ontario lists various factors that hike the risk of workplace violence, many of which apply to cab drivers: working with the public; handling money; providing a service; working alone; and having a mobile workplace that may take drivers to geographic locations like bars and isolated buildings or structures, where they are at higher risk of being victims of violent crime. There is also the risk of road accidents. A driver’s personal automobile insurance policy may not cover collisions that occur when the vehicle is used to ferry paying passengers, and workers’ compensation does not apply if a driver is injured while operating a private taxi service. Online-platform-based economic activities connect workers and consumers to a range of activities beyond car or ride provision and home sharing, as exemplified by Uber and Airbnb. According to “Sharing economy” or On-Demand Service Economy?, a survey of workers and consumers in the Greater Toronto Area that the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) released in April, other manifestations of the sharing economy include Cleanify (cleaning services mediated through online platforms), Doordash (app-facilitated food delivery), BlancRide (carpooling through mobile app), TaskRabbit (a web platform matching people who need chores done with freelance labour), Rover (an app that matches drivers with unused parking spaces) and Hoffice (the use of underutilized home spaces as offices). From an oh&s perspective, the sharing economy presents a conundrum by changing the employer-employee model. Uber and Lyft position themselves as ride-matching services — not transportation companies — and drivers are independent contractors rather than employees. According to a disclaimer in Lyft’s terms of service listed on its website, the company is not a transportation carrier or a transportation-services provider, but a platform that connects a rider to a driver.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.ohscanada.com/features/peer-to-peer/