Amazon is stepping up its safety precautions as it makes significant progress on its pledge to hire 100,000 fulfillment workers, with more than 80,000 positions already filled. The e-Commerce giant has recently made more than 150 process changes aimed at improving safety, including temperature checks at select sites, the distribution of personal protective equipment and daily audits of its operations.
Temperature checks started on March 29, and anyone registering a temperature over 100.4 Fahrenheit is sent home with orders not to return to work until they’ve gone three days without a fever. Anyone who has been in close contact with an infected individual will be given 14 days paid time off. The retailer is already checking more than 100,000 employees every day, and expects to complete the rollout to all Amazon and Whole Foods operations by early in the week of April 6.
Employees’ safety also will be helped via the distribution of equipment, including masks, which will be made available at all locations in the next week. Any N95 masks will be donated to healthcare workers or sold to healthcare and government organizations at cost.
Amazon is still testing and updating its safety practices, with daily audits to ensure its precautions are working. The company also has made use of machine learning technologies to look for opportunities to improve social distancing using internal Amazon’s camera systems.
“Whether it’s fulfilling orders in one of our fulfillment centers, delivering an order to a customer’s doorstep, or one of the many roles in between, I couldn’t be more proud of the critical role our teams are serving by enabling people to stay safe at home while receiving the products they need,” said Dave Clark, SVP of Worldwide Operations at Amazon in a statement. “Nothing is more important to us than making sure that we protect the health of our teams, and we’ve been working around the clock since the early days of the outbreak to make changes to our processes and procure the necessary supplies for this.”
The e-Commerce giant has invested more than $150 million into new hires and safety measures to help guide its team through the coronavirus pandemic. Amazon originally pledged $350 million in additional pay, and the company expects to exceed that number before the crisis ends.
These investments could help Amazon stave off future confrontations with workers. The retailer recently had to deal with strikes at both Whole Foods stores and a Staten Island warehouse, but improved safety measures could defuse tensions.