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Jul-29-2019 23:58printcomments

Red Flags At Amazon Warehouse In Oregon: How Safe Are Working Conditions?

Amazon warehouse employees are speaking out about the working conditions across the nation.

Amazon jobs
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(SALEM, Ore.) - The hype of Amazon Prime Day is finally over. We have all heard about the deals and entertaining pricing mistakes. For instance, the $13,000 worth of camera equipment sold for $94. But all entertainment and hype aside, Amazon working conditions remain in the spotlight.

Such conditions were investigated last week by the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Reports of loud sirens and excessively hot working conditions at an Amazon warehouse in northwest Portland were conveyed in an Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) article.

“Some employees at the delivery station in Northwest Portland have raised concerns about doing physically taxing work in a facility without air conditioning,” Kate Davidson of OPB wrote.

“Workers also say they’re consistently exposed to loud alarms meant to warn them when delivery vans drive into the warehouse to collect packages.”

This is also not the first time OSHA has dealt with Amazon warehouse complaints. In 2018, the same warehouse in northwest Portland was cited for not having the required safety committee at the fulfillment facility.

Heat is a major concern. Warehouse employee safety can be compromised by the excessive heat, and combined with intense labor work, could be potentially deadly. Heat can inadvertently cause harm as well, causing facility equipment to fail and become dangerous to employees as well. Luckily, no serious injuries were reported.

Amazon Warehouse In Portland, Oregon Not Only Problem For Amazon

More and more Amazon warehouse employees are speaking out about the working conditions across the nation.

A Time article outlined just what working in an Amazon warehouse was like. We’re talking about 12-14 hour work days with as little as 18 minutes of downtime scheduled.

And scheduled it is. Interestingly, Amazon warehouse employees are tracked and pushed via a scanner that records their every movement. There is also an efficient work algorithm that feeds management data about a worker’s movements and productivity throughout a shift.

“It also alerted a manager if I had too many minutes of ‘Time Off Task,’” Emily Guendelsberger explained in the Time article.

“At my warehouse, you were expected to be off task for only 18 minutes per shift–mine was 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., which included using the bathroom, getting a drink of water or just walking slower than the algorithm dictated, though we did have a 30-minute unpaid lunch,” Guendelsberger said.

“It created a constant buzz of low-grade panic, and the isolation and monotony of the work left me feeling as if I were losing my mind.”

Warehouse Safety Needs To Be Prioritized

Working in a warehouse certainly requires more physical demands than an office position. However, this doesn’t mean that conditions can be unsafe. Technology can be used to do more than just track employee efficiency and productivity. Tech can also keep warehouse worker safety a priority.

The same tech can also monitor warehouse equipment to ensure it is working at optimal levels and not at risk of malfunction. For example, machine vibration monitoring that provides real-time machine protection, mechanical order picking for pallets that can lessen labor needs from employees, or automated robotics that can move items from one area of a warehouse to another.

It’s important to keep workers safe and equipment working properly. There are a number of safety areas Amazon, as well as any other company that runs a warehouse should be focusing on. If a company is falling behind the safety standards, employees should take action.

Warehouse Safety Hazards Workers Should Watch For

Poor Ventilation If the warehouse you are working in is excessively hot and has little air circulation, you could be at risk for inhaling toxins, dust, and other particulates potentially harmful to your health.

Dangerous Conveyors Conveyor equipment is vital to the efficiency and productivity of Amazon warehouses, or any other fulfillment type center. But if the conveyor equipment is not maintained properly, they could become hazards to employees.

Lack Of Safety Gear Safety gear is important to keep warehouse workers safe. Gloves, boots, aprons, eye protection, and ear protection are all proper safety gear items. In the case of the loud sirens at the northwest Portland Amazon warehouse, ear protection should have been issued or enforced to be worn.

In Conclusion...

The news has been reporting on a lot of safety concerns as of late. Amazon is just one of the companies under the microscope. They are also an easy target due to the Prime Day excitement, and their status as a global e-commerce powerhouse. However, even small companies with small warehouses need to take action and make sure the safety of workers is a top priority.

Source: Salem-News.com Special Features Dept.

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©2019 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.


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