How Amazon is trying to keep Kenosha employees safe amid ongoing pandemic

Posted at 12:13 PM, Oct 06, 2020

KENOSHA — Amazon says the company has implemented over 150 changes to enhance employee safety as the online retailer enters its busiest time of the year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This year's Amazon Prime Day is set to take place on Oct. 13 and 14 and company leaders say they expect more people to turn to online holiday shopping during the pandemic this year.

Inside Amazon's Kenosha Fulfillment Center, masks are required and daily temperature checks are mandatory for anyone entering the building.

Plexiglass is set up in some workspaces, hand-washing and sanitation stations are located throughout the facility, and social distancing is prioritized. The company even has computer-based software that can help show employees when they're standing or walking a safe distance apart.

Amazon is also offering its Kenosha employees free on-site COVID-19 testing. The company hopes to soon expand its on-site testing for employees in other parts of the country as well.

"In the beginning, I was a little worried to come in, risk it and take it home to my family," said Erika Otis, an employee who says she now feels safe when at work.

Otis is now a social-distancing ambassador for the company and helps ensure the safety of her co-workers.

"A lot of the feedback that we got early on is something that led to all the changes," says Mike Stone, Director for Workplace Health and Safety at Amazon.

Stone said amid a surge of coronavirus in Wisconsin, Amazon is investing hundreds-of-millions of dollars to keep employees safe around the world.

This includes spending more than $800 million dollars in the first half of 2020 to enhance safety measures, according to Amazon.

"We're constantly innovating, investing and looking for ways to come up with more and more control measures to make sure that not only were protecting our associates from COVID-19 but making sure we have a safe workplace overall," said Stone.

Last week, Amazon reported that nearly 20,000 employees had tested positive for COVID-19 globally.

In Wisconsin, the company reports the positivity rate at about 1.43% but would not say exactly how many people have tested positive.

Stone says the company continues to follow the guidance provided by the CDC, WHO, and Kenosha Division of Health.

"The health department here in Kenosha has been at our facility here," said Stone, "They were very complimentary of what they saw and they’re welcome back at any time."

TMJ4 reached out to the Kenosha Division of Health to ask for a reaction to Amazon's new efforts to keep employees safe, but have not yet heard back.

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