On the eve of South Florida entering phase 1 of reopening non-essential businesses, OSHA released new guidelines for the taxi and rideshare industry. Although many Uber and Lyft drivers would be considered “independent contractors” and not covered under The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, these guidelines should be considered by rideshare companies as good practices moving forward.

The guidelines include much of the same practices we have been following for the past few months, with some wrinkles. Some of these practices include:

  • “Routine” cleaning and disinfecting of vehicle door handles and inside surfaces (with a qualifying coronavirus-killing disinfectant);
  • Advise drivers to lower vehicle windows to increase airflow;
  • Provide drivers and riders with alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol;
  • Provide drivers with disposable towels and qualifying coronavirus-killing disinfectant; and
  • Provide drivers and riders with tissues and trash receptacles.
  • Encourage drivers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Limit the number of passengers drivers can transport at a single time, and install plexiglass partitions between driver and passenger compartments where possible.
  • Encourage drivers to report any safety and health concerns

Aside from these guidelines, OSHA has also strongly recommended that rideshare companies take initiative and adopt measures such as:

  • Draft employee handbooks regarding cleaning, masking, etc.
  • Provide signs for drivers to place in their vehicles to remind riders of safe practices such as masking and frequent sanitizing/handwashing.
  • Supply packages of coronavirus prevention supplies such as hand sanitizer, paper towels and disinfectant, tissues and trash receptacles, and perhaps even face-coverings.
  • Consider when a plexiglass or other type of partition may be appropriate and feasible to install or reimburse for.
  • Examine how dispatch centers and apps can adjust their ride-matching practices to limit cross-contamination and reduce exposure.
  • Assure that there is a robust protocol for reporting safety and health concerns, ideally through multiple methods, and retrain all drivers on those methods.

As more and more states begin the transition of opening up their economy, more and more customers will be requesting rideshare services. The legal issues surrounding Uber and Lyft are highly complex and it is extremely important to seek advice of attorneys familiar with this emerging area of law. The attorneys at Ferrer Law, PA have represented individuals with various injuries due to automobile accidents throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, and the rest of the state of Florida. If you or a loved one has been hurt due to an Uber or Lyft accident call Ferrer Law, PA at 305-697-2224 for a free consultation.

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