How Amazon prioritises health and safety while fulfiling customer orders
Now more than ever, Amazon's fulfilment and delivery networks play a critical role in serving customers. In these unprecedented times, we remain committed to the health and safety of our employees, partners, and the customers we serve.
"We're providing a vital service to people everywhere, especially to those, like the elderly, who are most vulnerable. People are depending on us," Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos said in a recent email to all employees.
We have adjusted our practices within our buildings through physical, virtual, and new format internal communications. With guidance from local health authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO), we've implemented a series of preventative health measures at our sites around the world to help keep our employees, partners, and customers safe.
Amazon fulfilment centres and delivery stations
Given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we are committed to continue making adjustments to our business as we learn more.
We continue to explore even more preventative measures to support the health and safety of employees, associates and delivery partners who are providing a critical service in our communities. Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitiser are already standard across our network. We are distributing masks daily across our Fulfilment Centre teams and to Amazon Flex Delivery Partners. In addition, we are now conducting temperature checks at all our sites around Australia in an effort to ensure that associates and support staff are healthy when they arrive at work.
We have increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning at all sites, including regular sanitisation of door handles, handrails, touch screens, scanners, and other frequently touched areas. We're also requiring associates to clean and disinfect their work stations regularly.
We've adjusted our practices so that our fulfilment centre associates can maintain a safer two metre distance from co-workers. This includes eliminating stand-up meetings during shifts. Instead, business-essential information is shared via white boards near main areas and through conversations with managers or HR team members. We've staggered shift start times and break times, spread out tables in the break rooms on site, and suspended exit screening to ensure ease of movement near main entrances. We've shifted training so we don’t have associates gathering in one spot, we’ve adjusted our hiring process to encourage social distancing, and we've paused access to our buildings for non-essential visitors.
We are continuing to consult with health authorities and medical experts, ensuring comprehensive plans are in place to cover the range of COVID-19 related scenarios that could arise.
Employee communications include requirements that everyone wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily accessible, alcohol-based hand sanitiser stations are easily accessible throughout our buildings.
We're working with associates at our fulfilment centres and delivery stations so they can stay connected with family, and to this end have enabled a temporary mobile phone process for those who need to be in contact with their families or childcare providers. We are continually reviewing our practices and looking for further steps that can be taken to better protect our associates. We are actively encouraging our associates to raise any ideas or feedback they may have about our actions and workplace.
If any employee feels unwell, they must stay home and call their healthcare provider. All Amazon employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine will receive up to two weeks of paid time off, so they can get healthy without worrying about lost income.
Delivery Associates and Flex Drivers
We've provided a detailed list of procedures for our network of delivery partners that are focused on their health and safety, and that of our customers.
At the start and end of routes, delivery associates and Amazon Flex delivery partners have been advised to use disinfectant wipes to clean all frequently touched surfaces in their vehicles and other work equipment, including things like keys, steering wheel, buttons, and delivery devices.
We've also advised them to refrain from shaking hands or having any other physical contact with customers, and maintain a minimum two metre distance from customers at all times.
We've asked that Amazon Flex delivery partners wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. They should use a tissue to cover a cough or sneeze, throw the tissue in the trash, then wash their hands. We've urged all delivery partners and drivers to stay home if they feel sick or have a fever. They must be fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication before returning to work. And like we’re doing with all individuals, we are supporting people if they need time off.
We encourage our delivery partners to provide feedback and ideas about these steps and how we can do more.
Supporting our associates, delivery partners
Amazon recognises that our associates and delivery partners are playing an essential role for people at a time when many of the services that might normally be available to support them are closed. The Amazon Relief Fund, with a $25 million USD initial contribution, will help support our Amazon Flex delivery partners and agency associates under financial distress as a result of COVID-19. We are offering all of these groups the ability to apply for a grant if diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine by the government or Amazon