366 The consequencies of sharing economy on occupational safety and health

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Abstract

Introduction

The object of the study is to clarify the effects of ‘sharing economy’ and ‘platform economy’ on occupational safety and health. The argument is that these megatrends challenge present ways to guarantee safety and health for workers. Our modern solution for occupational safety and health has been the welfare state. In this context, the government, the employers and the employees have had their own rights and responsibilities. However, the sharing economy and the platforms (such like Uber, Airbnb, TaskRabit etc.) as an essential part of it, challenge present ways to guarantee safety and health to the workers.

Methods

Literature concerning the sharing economy and platform economy are reviewed and effects of these on occupational safety and health are clarified. Level of awereness concerning the risks caused by sharing economy and platforms in various countries in the field of occupational safety and health is discussed. Further steps which are needed are indentified.

Results

There seem to be many reasons why risks for unemployment, occupational safety and health are rising in the context of sharing economy and platforms. First and foremost, sharing economy may increase uncertainty and unemployment in the working life. Second, there are many changes related to work. Second, platforms are not employers with their responsibilities. Third, employees lack collective power, Fourth, governments lack resources (tax base) and power (platforms are global) to guarantee health and safety. Of course, we have to remember that new technology may also help us to to provide safety and health.

Discussion

The system which provides security and safety for the citizens is always connected to changes in economic and social context. Now, the balance of needs for safety and health and means to guarantee them is changing. In order to provide safety and health, we have to renew our strategies to provide them. It is evident that we should consider incentives for the platforms to introduce innovations in the field of safety and health. In addition, since the platforms are global, international co-operation is needed.

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