Amazon.com Inc. is establishing a program focused on improving the health and wellness of its hourly warehouse staffers, after years of criticism over worker safety at its depots and a pledge by Chief Executive Jeff Bezos to offer a better vision for employees.
The company said Monday that its new program, called WorkingWell, aims to better educate some of its employees on how to avoid workplace injuries and improve mental health on the job. The online retailer began testing parts of the program two years ago and plans to expand it to 1,000 facilities by the end of the year, said Heather MacDougall, vice president of world-wide workplace health and safety at Amazon. The company said it aims to cut recordable incidents in half by 2025. The program has been in 350 sites in North America and Europe.
recorded 5.6 injuries per 100 workers in 2019, the last full year of data, compared with the 4.8 rate nationally for the warehousing and storage sector, according to company and federal workplace data. Amazon says it monitors workplace injuries more closely than other companies, which might cause its reported injury rate to be higher.
Under the WorkingWell program, warehouse employees gather on a rotating basis near their work stations to watch videos about injury prevention, including how to lift items properly. Depending on their roles, employees also are given hourly prompts at their stations that guide them through various stretching and breathing exercises. Amazon, which uses tools to track worker productivity, said the prompted exercise breaks can last from 30 seconds to a minute each.
The company also is installing kiosks where employees can watch videos that show guided meditations and calming scenes and sounds. New wellness zones provide dedicated spaces for workers to stretch or meditate, and the company plans to introduce a mobile app that would let employees view similar educational tools at home. The company also is developing staffing schedules that rotate employees among jobs that use different muscle groups to reduce repetitive-stress injuries.
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