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. Nothing is more important than health and well-being of our employees, and we are doing everything we can to keep them as safe as possible.
"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 an email to all employees. We’ve invested over $800 million globally in the first half of this year implementing 150 significant process changes on COVID-19 safety measures.
Amazon Australia fulfilment centres and delivery stations
We are committed to continue making adjustments to our business as we learn more about COVID-19, and continue to explore more preventative measures to support the health and safety of associates and delivery partners who are providing a critical service to our communities.
We've adjusted our practices so that our fulfilment centre associates can maintain a two metre distance from co-workers, in accordance with local health authority guidance as well as the World Health Organization. We’re redeploying team members from their typical roles to perform safety related tasks and audits at sites around the world. This includes team members who are "social distancing ambassadors" and to help with temperature checks.
We have implemented a social distancing policy where individuals who intentionally violate may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. To aid social distancing we have also eliminated stand-up meetings during shifts, staggering shift start times and break times, spread out tables in the break rooms on site and created additional break areas, and suspended exit screening to ensure ease of movement near main entrances.
To limit congestion and maintain social distancing, we have taped markings on the floor throughout our entire buildings, posted signage educating and reminding employees of the importance of social distancing and staggered staffing at work stations. We've shifted training so we don’t have associates gathering in one spot, adjusted our hiring process to encourage social distancing, and paused access to our buildings for non-essential visitors.
Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitiser are standard across our sites around Australia, as is the daily distribution of masks across our Fulfilment Centre teams and to Amazon Flex Delivery Partners. 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. We’ve added additional hand washing stations throughout our buildings as well as making alcohol-based hand sanitiser stations easily accessible.
We also temperature check everyone entering 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 extra attention and regular sanitisation of door handles, handrails, touch screens, scanners, and other frequently touched areas. This is in addition to increasing the size of our janitorial teams, and disinfectant spraying across our network, a practice commonly used by hospitals and airlines.
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.
We're conducting daily audits of the new health and safety measures we've put into place to make sure people are educated and complying with this new normal, and ensuring comprehensive plans are in place to cover the range of COVID-19 related scenarios that could arise.
Amazon Flex delivery partners
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.
We require all Amazon Flex delivery partners to check their temperature prior to each delivery block. We also provide delivery partners with a mask at the beginning of each route and require it is worn for the duration of their delivery block. At the start and end of routes, 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 make contactless deliveries, and refrain from shaking hands or having any other physical contact with customers, maintaining a minimum two metre distance 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.
Pay and time off for our associates and delivery partners
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.
We’ve given a special one-time Thank You bonus totaling over $500 million to all the front-line employees and delivery partners who were with the company throughout the month of June. We also believe in taking care of people who need time away. Someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or who is presumptively positive (but unable to get a test) will receive up to two weeks of paid time off—this is in addition to their other paid and unpaid time off options. We're asking anyone who was in close contact with the diagnosed individual while at our site to stay home, with pay, for 14 days in self-quarantine to protect themselves and those around them. If any team members are unable or unwilling to work a scheduled shift, they can use paid or unpaid time off options, and we are supportive if someone chooses to stay home.
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
We will keep evaluating how to best support our teams and will continue rolling out measures to protect the health and safety of every person helping customers get what they need during this difficult time. Taking care of our team as they step up for their communities will remain Amazon's number-one priority.