‘Our mission is to be the earth’s most safest company’: Amazon invests $300 million in safety, health initiatives
SPOKANE, Wash. — Amazon has been in Spokane for a year, creating thousands of jobs and breaking ground on another fulfillment center in Spokane Valley which will open this fall. This year, however, the company is investing in making the workplace even safer for its employees.
“Our mission is to be the Earth’s most safest[sic] company, and that doesn’t just mean safety of our associates when they’re in the building,” said Adi Shankar, a general manager at Amazon. “It’s a overall holistic, wellness approach.”
By 2025, Amazon wants to be the safest workplace on the earth. To help this achieve this goal, they’re investing $300 million in workplace initiatives centered around physical, emotional and mental health on the job. On top of packing, shipping and sorting, employees are also reminded to take breaks.
“You can fatigue throughout the day, so it’s really good to have that mental refresher to kind of rejuvenate before jumping back into work,” said Maria Aparicio, an injury prevention specialist at Amazon.
During a single shift, team leaders will lead wellness huddles where employees learn about body mechanics, stretching and safety on the job. Another goal the company has is to reduce workplace incidents by 50% in 2025. They can also step inside an ‘AmaZen’ soundproof booth for relaxation and mindfulness meditation during the day.
“We can send them home hopefully feeling just as good as they did coming into the building, if not better going out,” Aparicio said.
In the Spokane fulfillment center, there are 40 million items with 4,000 robots working alongside the team members. The company wants to use technology to work with people and improve workflow for the whole operation. As Amazon gears up for Prime Day, they’re hiring 500 people per week.
“We’re continuing to hire even right now,” Shankar said. “We did this even in the middle of a pandemic while keeping them safe.”
In addition to safety, the company also wants to promote career growth for its employees. Hourly employees have the chance to move into upper management positions like Karen Echavarria did. She started as a temporary associate and is now the Safety Manager at GEG-1. She says the opportunities are endless for people looking for growth within the company.
“Amazon gives you all the resources. There’s so many people out there that are willing to help you,” Echavarria said. “You just have to be willing to go out and kind of break free and reach out.”
Amazon will begin recruiting for the Valley location, GEG-2, about a month before the center opens in the fall. You can find more about job opportunities with the company HERE.
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