A program that comes after very strong reviews on the conditions of workers in the various warehouses and the recent global strikes called by unions which involved the entire supply chain (from warehouse workers to couriers), including Italy (where 40,000 people went on strike) to reaffirm the right to wage bargaining, with adequate wages and workloads.
The test phase in 350 sites in North America and Europe
The company, through WorkingWell, aims to educate its employees on how to avoid workplace injuries and improve mental health in the workplace by testing the program at 350 locations across North America and Europe. , with plans to expand to 1,000 establishments by the end of the year, as indicated by Heather MacDougall, Vice President of Global Occupational Health and Safety at Amazon, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Amazon intends to halve accidents by 2025. In 2019, the company recorded 5.6 injuries per 100 workers, against the national average of 4.8 for the storage sector, based on what federal data emerges, although Amazon responds that it is monitoring the work. related injuries more closely than other companies, which could increase the number of reports.
The same Jeff Bezos, after the strong push by unions in Alabama warehouses, he stressed the need to guarantee better working conditions.
Amazon employs approximately 950,000 employees in the United States: driven by the frequency of accidents in the storage sector and the pandemic, which has raised awareness of health needs, in an interview the company declared itself “particularly concerned about musculoskeletal problems“, which account for 40% of industrial accidents in retail establishments.
How WorkingWell works
In the program Works well, employees rotate together to watch injury prevention videos, a visual guide to how to properly lift objects. Depending on their roles, they also receive hourly suggestions for stretching and breathing exercises. Amazon, which uses tools to monitor worker productivity, said the suggested exercise breaks can last anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute each.
The company is also setting up kiosks where employees can watch videos showing guided meditations, relaxing sights and sounds. The new wellness areas offer spaces dedicated to meditation. Additionally, Amazon would be evaluating a mobile app that would allow employees to view similar educational tools at home, as well as in-house work management programs that involve rotating jobs using different muscle groups to reduce repetitive stress injuries.
Promoting well-being, but not reducing the workload
However, there was no decrease in the workload, which led to protests and strikes. Work rhythms imposed on achievable benchmarks, according to MacDougall: “When we set prices, they are based on taking into account a number of factors that will ensure our employees do their jobs safely.”
However, reducing educational tools in the workplace would not be enough to reduce injuries, according to Jack Dennerlein, professor at Northeastern University, highlighting the greater impact of technological equipment and mechanical elevators in working environments. “Work must be adapted to humans and not to humans at work“, emphasizes the professor.
Recent strikes and mobilisations for more dignified working conditions
Amazon said it has invested more than $ 300 million in security projects in 2021. In many countries, employees have opposed what has been defined as unsafe working conditions against the spread of Covid, as happened in the Amazon.
Mobilizations, strikes, but also votes for the creation of a union in the Alabama warehouse. In recent weeks, in Italy, he became a member of 75%, with peaks of 90% according to the unions Filt-Cgil, Fit-Cisl and Uiltrasporti he Amazon strike in Italy.
Also, recently, after always denying, the company had to admit that employees were forced to pee in bottles so as not to delay deliveries. A “practice” that he had targeted the media on Amazon, and, according to employees, well known to executives.
“We know that our drivers can and have difficulty finding toilets due to traffic or off-road roads – the company had pointed out – this was particularly common during the Covid pandemic, when many public toilets were closed “.