NSW authorities have slammed major food delivery platforms for ignoring worker safety. 

Six food delivery platform operators have been served with improvement notices after a SafeWork compliance blitz in Sydney’s metropolitan area revealed widespread non-compliance with NSW’s workplace health and safety laws.

All but one of the riders observed during the blitz were found operating in an unsafe manner.

The authorities have taken the matter to the companies that run the platforms, even though many have gone to great lengths to distance themselves from their riders, referring to them as ‘partners’ or ‘contractors’ rather than employees.

“What we’ve seen is disgraceful - riders out in the dark without high-vis, wearing thongs, cutting in front of trams, using mobile phones and giving passengers a lift while on the job,” Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said.

“Enough is enough. In the last 12 months alone four lives have been lost in this industry.”

Improvement notices were issued to food delivery platforms including Uber Eats, Hungry Panda, Menulog, Deliveroo, Yellow and Chowbus regarding failing to inform and instruct their riders around safe work practices and appropriate safety equipment. 

The notices require platforms to make improvements to their safety systems by 14 April or risk a fine of up to $3,600 or prosecution.

The blitz found more than 90 per cent of the riders had inadequate personal protective equipment while around 60 per cent of riders could not demonstrate or refer to any work safety protocols having been provided to them.

SafeWork recently introduced new guidelines to help food delivery operators, drivers and restaurants understand how to fulfil their obligations under the NSW Work Health and Safety Legislation.

The guidelines outline existing hazards in the industry, such as poorly maintained bikes, fatigue and extreme weather conditions, and the actions that must be taken by delivery platforms, drivers and restaurants to mitigate these risks.

“The guidelines make it crystal clear what is required to improve safety and how the laws we have in place apply in this industry. We will continue to monitor compliance and won’t hesitate to take tougher action if behaviours don’t change,” Mr Anderson said.

Data from the blitz will be presented to the NSW Government’s Joint Taskforce: Food Delivery Rider Safety, which is due to provide its findings to the Minister in the coming weeks.