Last week we marked World Day for Safety and Health at Work. It’s the day for all businesses to reflect on how occupational safety and health has improved over the years, as well as to look to the future to consider where improvements can be made in the years to come.
That focus on safety is something that’s ingrained in our business. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about what it’s like to work in an Amazon fulfilment centre, particularly on our safety record, and we think the World Day for Safety and Health at Work is a good time to set the record straight.
Amazon is a company that obsesses about the customer experience, but we don’t let that focus get in the way of creating a positive and safe work environment for employees. Safety is our top priority for our associates. And when we say that, it’s not empty words — it’s evident in everything we do across our network. For instance, every meeting at Amazon starts with a safety message, the industry-leading technology we use every day is designed to protect and support our employees, and we test and refine our processes on an on-going basis to ensure we see a constant improvement in the quality of the working conditions in our facilities.
For us, one incident is too many. And that’s why we do everything we can to ensure we not only meet, but exceed safety requirements and continuously update our safety policies and trainings to prevent incidents.
Shaping the future of safety
It goes without saying that the average workplace has changed over the years. This is especially true at Amazon. Previously the stuff of science fiction, our associates now work side by side with new technologies every day.
So as our business continues to evolve, we are constantly exploring, piloting, and fine-tuning technology designed to reduce risk and prevent injury, and there are lots of amazing inventions which help keep Amazonians safe. In 2018, for example, we began rolling out our Robotic Tech Vest at Amazon’s Robotics facilities. The vest, which was developed by the Amazon Robotics team, enables our robotic units to detect associates from a distance and smartly update their travel plans to steer clear of employees and keep everybody safe. Alongside the vests, we’re also developing geospatial technologies to ensure safe interactions between our associates and robotics units.
These are just a few, small examples of our approach to safety for our associates.
Here’s some numbers:
– the average number hours of Health and Safety training each employee received last year in the UK across our fulfilment centres.
– the number of Health and Safety professionals across our UK network who are working to make sure our teams have the safest work environment possible.
– the number of meetings that start each shift, every day, across the entire UK fulfilment centre network with a safety tip.
– the number of qualified first-aiders working across our fulfilment centres in the UK.
– the total number of hours of Health and Safety training to given to staff working across our fulfilment centres last year in the UK alone.
– the amount spent last year on capital investments directly related to safety improvements in our fulfilment centres in the UK.
While new technology plays an important role in our safety processes, it is just one factor. Equally important is the role that our associates play themselves. Their feedback through our Safety Leadership Index is incredibly valuable and is treated very seriously. Thousands of safety ideas, concerns, and suggestions have been shared by Amazon Associates since the programme started. Using this invaluable and real-time insight, we’ve implemented over 500 changes as a result of their feedback.
Robert Burnett from Amazon’s Health and Safety team, commented: “At Amazon, everyone including associates, managers and contractors actively participate in the site safety programmes such as Safety Saves, Associate Safety Committee actions, Safety Walks and Voice of the Associate Board to continually drive safety improvements in workplace.
“We walk the walk and talk the talk on workplace health and safety, every day. We strive to deliver safety by design a lot at Amazon. What do we mean by that? As a company that is consistently exploring new technologies and looking to innovate, when we build a new facility we think through the safety lens from the very start – at the design stage. This safety-first approach, accompanied by smart use of technology and cultivating a feedback culture, means that we can work together to improve and deliver workplace safety excellence.”
But don’t take our word for it. We encourage anyone to come see our dedication to safety for themselves by taking a tour at one of our fulfilment centres.