Occupational Health and Safety Risk Factors Amongst Taxi Drivers in Kingston and St. Andrew, Jamaica

Like many occupations in the informal economy, the safety and health concerns and challenges among taxi operators are often under-researched. This study sheds light on the hazardous conditions in the taxi industry and provides information that can assist taxi operators and government agencies in implementing appropriate safety measures. Regardless of occupation, every worker should have access to a healthy and safe environment and receive fair treatment and protection.

Key Insights

  • A significant number of respondents were exposed to the typical occupational hazards that characterise the taxi industry, including verbal abuse (54.2%), physical assault (21.7%), threats of assault (45.8%) and robberies (37.3%).
  • The most severe occupational safety and health issues are the least prevalent. For example, verbal abuse (54.2%) was the most pervasive of the occupational hazards examined in the study. Physical assaults (21.7%) were the least prevalent.
  • Theft was the second least prevalent hazard in this study. Although theft is a serious criminal act that might attract legal consequences equivalent to or more severe than physical assaults, it is perceived as less harmful to taxi drivers if there is no bodily harm. Theft generally might be considered a symptom of KSA’s broader socioeconomic issues.
  • Considering that the most common weapons used in physical assaults were fists (50%) and guns (22.2%), it is not surprising that half of the respondents (72.2%) reported the assault to be severe.
  • Drivers in the 40-60 age group had the highest relative percentage of verbal abuse (54.8%), physical assaults (23.8%), threats (52.3%) and robberies (38.1%) than the other age groups.
  • Drivers who worked for 21 to 40 years also had the highest relative percentage of verbal abuse (57.1%), physical assault (28.6%) and threats of violence (57.1%). Most drivers who worked between 21 to 40 years would also be in the 40 to 60 age group.