Ordering a pizza while binge-watching Netflix is always the guarantee of a lovely Saturday night. Then you wake up on Sunday morning and decide to treat yourself with those pretty shoes which get from an e-store directly into your house. The role of delivery services in our lives has been increasing drastically especially with the onset of the corona pandemic. But have you ever thought about this person knocking on your door, scaring your cat, and leaving this package under your door?
NOT THAT EASY AS IT SEEMS
Neither rain nor storm stops a delivery driver from getting the order to you safe and sound. They should also bear with the traffic and rude motorcyclists. Moreover, the job is quite dangerous. Delivering fast is often the biggest priority which sometimes comes even before safety. In addition, you can easily be robbed, get into a road accident, or fall down with pneumonia after a 4-hour shift in the rain. No wonder that Time Magazine ranked a delivery job 8th in the top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in 2014.
If Time Magazine had created this ranking in 2020, this job would have probably got to the top 3. With the start of the covid-19 pandemic, people literally became dependent on delivery. While everyone was working from home, delivery drivers had to expose themselves to the risk with a noble mission of providing us with the goods we were not able to get ourselves.
Agree that it does not sound motivating to do the job when one realizes how hazardous it actually is. But society has a huge demand for these workers anyway. So, the main question is: how can we improve the working conditions of delivery drivers and guarantee safety in these services?
#1: LESS PRESSURE
A University College London survey revealed that 47% of the interviewed drivers were frequently forced to drive over the speed limit. The reason was the time pressure of gig work. Very often drivers are paid not on an hourly rate, but on the basis of how many deliveries are done. Therefore, these workers are truly eager to bring your sushi asap forgetting about their road safety.
Introducing hourly rates seems to be the most logical in this case. Fast food chains like Domino’s pizza, for example, oblige their drivers to do extra tasks apart from delivery. If it is not busy in the store, they can simply stay inside and do cleaning, serve customers or answer the phone calls. In this way having hourly-based wages sounds reasonable + we eliminate the time pressure of gig works.
#2: MAINTENANCE CHECKS
The first thing that makes this job dangerous is the occasional vehicle defects. I think, everyone who worked in delivery on an e-bike had this situation: you drive, see the car approaching, want to stop, but then you realize that your brakes don’t actually work. The thought like “Well, that’s how I die” immediately comes to mind. It makes you even laugh a bit cause it’s so ridiculous to die like this.
It is actually quite silly, true. Especially considering that we can prevent such situations so easily with daily vehicle inspections. Of course, store managers will say to this, “Wow, as if we didn’t know! Of course, we do those checks every day!”. However, the problem is that they usually do these checks just by writing ticks on the paper which eventually gets lost. The managers forget or don’t see that a vehicle is defected and keep it in service. How to prevent this?
Save all your data with digital inspections
Having a digital checklist app is literally a life-buoy in this case. First of all, with the option of creating your own checklists, you can simply make an inspection list for vehicle checks. The alert notification feature in its turn can help you let the employees know immediately that the vehicle is broken and assign a task to the manager to get the machine out of service. And what is also important: all your inspections will be cloud-based which means that you will never lose your data!
#3: PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
“The helmets at our store are so tiny! I won’t be wearing those”, common saying among delivery drivers. However, when their brakes stop working in the middle of the highway, they rapidly change their mind.
Ensuring that all your workers are always wearing jackets or rain pants will save them from getting a cold. Checking that everyone has a mask will prevent all the corona alerts and the eventual closing of the business. And controlling that all the drivers are wearing those “tiny helmets” will help you to save their lives in case of road accidents.
Again, digital checklist apps can help you make a checklist for health & safety inspections. What is more, the analytics feature can assist you with tracking which employees were the most undisciplined with their personal safety.
#4: ROBBERY PREVENTION
It is true that delivery drivers often become victims of robbery. And there is no wonder to it: individuals definitely carrying cash and very often, in dark and on-the-edge-of-the-map areas are such an easy target for burglars.
The first step of robbery prevention is putting a GPS locator in the vehicle. In this way, store managers could track the time and the route the driver takes. Don’t forget to put it as a separate section on your digital checklist:D. Furthermore, you should think about making your business cash-free. Right now it is a popular option to pre-pay the order online or just pay with a card on the spot. Such a simple measure can help you both save money in case your driver gets attacked and the life of the driver themselves. Why threaten if anyway you can’t get any cash?
#5: SUFFICIENT ONBOARDING
You may not believe it, but something as silly as a lack of knowledge about the delivery work process can already make the job dangerous. The already-mentioned University College London Survey mentions that cyclist/motorcyclist drivers often become victims of dooring (customers having the door opened on them). They simply don’t know about the distance they need to keep while delivering. Also, it is common that workers are not well-oriented in the area in which they serve. That results in dependence on mobile apps and getting distracted on the phone while driving. 41 % of interviewees whose job was mobile-app based confirmed this.
What can be seen as a solution is creating a preparatory test for drivers to ensure they are aware of all the rules. With Lumiform you can simply create, for example, a multiple-choice or open-answer test to check how ready drivers are for future road trips.
What can we derive from this?
We can conclude that the safety of delivery drivers mostly depends on respecting their working rights and introducing high-quality inspection processes. Considering how fast the delivery industry is evolving, we should upgrade the inspection flows at the same pace. Because if you can order food online, why not conduct safety checks digitally as well?