JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind.–Amazon hasn’t been shy about the $800 million it has spent on new measures to screen employees for coronavirus. The company says it’s spending $4 billion more on safety measures and some of that has been and will be in its fulfillment centers in Indiana.
“We’ve made over 150 significant process changes, like mandatory masks in the buildings, temperature checks upon entry and we are practicing social distancing,” said Rena Lunak, a spokesperson for the company. “We have thermal scanners that are checking to see if you have an elevated temperature.”
LISTEN: Spokesperson Rena Lunak talks about Amazon employee safety
Lunak said a secondary screening is required if an employee appears to have a fever. Otherwise, employees are able to walk on through, without having to stop and cause a backup. She said social distancing is accomplished with work stations at least six feet apart, and that workers already have gloves on to handle the cardboard packages.
“As they’re packing the items and putting them on the conveyor belt, they’re staying relatively germ-free.”
In the middle of May, two Amazon workers in Indiana had died from the virus and some employees complained the company was not forthcoming with information on deaths or infections.
“Like most global companies, we’ve had employees affected by coronavirus and COVID-19 and we’re doing all we can to protect our employees. That’s why we’ve made these significant improvements,” said Lunak.
One of the workers who died worked in one of the Indianapolis facilities, on Girls School Road, and died on April 30. Another worked in the Jeffersonville facility and died May 13. Complaints by some workers published in media articles said the company did not communicate freely about those deaths.
“Our rates of infection are at or below the rates of the communities where we operate and we alert employees every time there is a confirmed diagnosis in their building,” said Lunak.
She added that Amazon is still hiring, having added 2,000 employees to its Indianapolis facilities, 1,000 of whom were made full-time this week.