It wasn't safe for Rideshare Drivers (or Riders) to sit together in close quarters without the basic protections recommended by the CDC to minimize the risk of infection, and slow the spread of COVID-19. It was a PANDEMIC for crying-out-loud.
It wasn't safe when the companies reactivated “shared rides” so that multiple riders (strangers to each other) could significantly increase the risk of infection and spread of the disease.
It wasn’t safe for Lyft and Uber to assume drivers knew how to use personal protective equipment (PPE), nor was it fair for them to expect drivers to provide critical safety tools at their own expense. Protections like N95 masks, shields, disinfecting supplies, hand sanitizers, barriers, gloves, etc. were recommended for the safety of drivers and riders alike. However, there were no standards, no training and no oversight regarding the use of these PPEs.
It was actually a GLOBAL PANDEMIC for crying-out-loud!
We weren’t protected as we put ourselves in harm’s way to keep America moving. Essential workers needed to get to the front lines and we took them; we drove nurses, lab techs, hospital workers, grocery store workers, cooks, cleaners, and more. If someone had a reason to get somewhere, we were there to take them.
In February, 2022 drivers complained.
The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) heard drivers’ complaints and they listened. In April 2022, the agency opened a formal investigation of Lyft and Uber practices which included interviews with twenty rideshare drivers throughout the state. The investigations uncovered a multitude of unsafe and unhealthy business practices that included:
These OSHA violations resulted in citations being filed against both companies in August 2022 that carry consequences. Both companies have contested these citations claiming that Cal-OSHA has no jurisdiction. (You can find a complete listing of the Cal-OSHA requirements to protect workers from Coronavirus, here).