What health and safety considerations are there in relation to employees using the Uber service for business? We want to make sure we have covered all legal obligations before writing it into our policy that employees can use Uber for business-related travel.
Under health and safety legislation in each state and territory, an employer has a primary duty of care to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health and safety of its workers while the workers are at work, which includes when they are in a vehicle travelling for work.
If an employer fails in its health and safety duties, and an employee is injured or killed, the employer will be exposed to criminal prosecution and significant penalties. This means you must think about the safety of your employees’ means of transportation in connection with work. Employers must choose the safest option that is reasonably practicable.
Uber runs a number of different ride-sharing services including UberX and UberBlack. These are distinct services with UberX being unregulated, where members of the public directly book and pay for other members of the public to drive them to a location. UberBlack, on the other hand, requires standard vehicles and licensed drivers.
We are not suggesting that Uber is not safe. However, the UberX service is unregulated, compared with taxi services, which are overseen by a regulatory body. For example, taxi drivers are required to complete a recent police record check, an accreditation application and knowledge test. Taxis are also required to have video cameras, which record in a continuous loop, and are able to be accessed by the authorities if a dispute occurs. Based on this, if you wish to include Uber for business-related travel, we would recommend limiting it to UberBlack.