Safety information for gig workers

Are you a gig worker (also known as an on-demand worker) in Victoria? Find out more about workplace safety hazards and risks you may need to consider while working.


What is gig work?

Gig work can be temporary jobs or tasks completed by individuals. It can be called other names, such as:

  • sharing work
  • collaborative work
  • crowdsourcing
  • independent work
  • freelance work (in some cases)

Gig work is often arranged through a digital platform, such as a mobile application or website. The digital platform connects workers with a client requesting a service. The service may be a one-off task or a short-term contract. Gig workers are usually paid for completing a task or job.

Common types of gig work include:

  • ride share, for example, Uber, Didi
  • food delivery, for example, UberEats, DoorDash
  • personal care, for example, ShiftCare, Hireup
  • home services, for example, TaskRabbit, Airtasker, hipages, Service seeking
  • hospitality work, for example, Sidekicker, Supp
  • administration tasks or creative work, for example, Upwork

The Victorian Government has established the Gig Worker Support Service which provides information and advice about gig workers' rights under various laws and can help connect gig workers to other support services.

A food delivery worker delivering food to a customer.

Who has health and safety duties?

In Victoria, employers, self-employed persons and employees all have duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (the Act) and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017.

It is important to understand whether you are an employee or self-employed person so that you know which occupational health and safety (OHS) duties will apply to you.

Under the Act:

  • an employee is someone who is working under a contract of employment or contract of training.
  • an employer means a person who employs one or more other persons under contracts of employment or contracts of training    
    Note: If an organisation has no employees, they are not an employer.

Depending on the arrangement, many gig workers may be self-employed persons. However, WorkSafe encourages you to seek your own legal advice to determine this.

The Gig Worker Support Service can provide information and advice about gig workers' rights under various laws and can help connect gig workers to other support services.

What are the general health and safety duties?

Under the Act, if you are a self-employed person, you have a duty to other people (for example, your customers, clients, members of the public). Self-employed persons must, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure their business activities do not put the health and safety of other people at risk. See WorkSafe guidance for more information on duties:

See WorkSafe guidance for more information on duties:

Hazards and risk

When doing gig work, you or others may be exposed to hazards.

The steps below take you through the stages of identifying, assessing, and controlling risks associated with workplace hazards.

  • Identify hazards – think about what could cause harm to you or others.
  • Assess the risks – the likelihood that the hazard will cause harm.
  • Control the risks – use the steps below to eliminate or reduce the risk so far as is reasonably practicable.
    • Substituting the hazard or activity with a less hazardous activity.
    • Isolating people from the hazard (remove people from the identified hazard).
    • Using engineering controls to reduce the risk further, through engineering changes.
    • Using administrative controls, such as instructions or health and safety procedures.
    • Using personal protective equipment to further reduce the risk.
  • Check that the controls to reduce the risk are in place and working as intended and revise if necessary.

For more information see WorkSafe guidance:

Further information