By Demetrius Dillard
Special to the AFRO
The Baltimore area’s newest Amazon fulfillment center has implemented an extensive program called “WorkingWell” as the company makes strides toward creating a safer and healthier work environment.
As part of its initiative to be “Earth’s Safest Place to Work,” Amazon launched the WorkingWell campaign, investing more than $300 million into safety projects in 2021, the company announced on May 17.
The employee-designed, multifaceted program provides wellness services, offers healthcare services for employees while at work and at home, and is projected to be available to all Amazon operations sites in the U.S. by the end of the year with the aim of cutting recordable incident rates by 50 percent by 2025.
Amazon’s most recently opened warehouse, located in Sparrows Point just outside of Dundalk, has implemented all of the WorkingWell components along with a number of the latest technological developments to ensure the well-being of associates.
The comprehensive program provides employees with physical and mental activities, wellness exercises and healthy eating options that are scientifically proven to help them recharge, consequently reducing the risk of injury, according to a company press release.
From the “Distance Assistant” to the “AmCare” waiting room to the “Amazen Booth,” the 1.1 million square foot facility features numerous resources that demonstrate Amazon’s commitment of making safety an utmost priority.
“Our day starts and ends with safety, and that’s how we measure our success in the building,” said Jacob Williams, the general manager of the newest Amazon site.
“One of the biggest parts of our business is our associates and our associates’ well-being.”
From the time employees start their shift to the time they clock out, they have WorkingWell items at their disposal including: health and safety huddles, which emphasizes strong body mechanics through informative videos on gripping and handling, pushing and pulling, nutrition, and more; wellness zones, which provide employees with spaces for voluntary stretching and muscle recover; and AmaZen, which acts as a meditation tool and guides employees through mindfulness practices in individual interactive kiosks.
According to Amazon, aspects of WorkingWell were put into effect in the U.S. in 2019. The program has since expanded to 859,000 employees at 350 sites in North America and Europe.
Additionally, employees have access to onsite first-aid trained medical professionals and certified athletic trainers through wellness centers dedicated to reducing the likelihood of injuries and illness through preventative self-care and health and safety education.
The EatWell initiative was developed to support the overall nutritional health of employees by increasing the availability of healthier options. As opposed to the usual vending machines with soda, candy, chips, pastries or other unhealthy options in break rooms, Amazon employees are supplied with more nutritional options such as fruit, granola bars, and vegetable snack packs when they are on break.
Amazon aims to stay connected with its workforce through new industry-leading technological developments, including mind & body moments, connect & comment kiosks and the WorkingWell mobile app.
Lastly, neighborhood health centers are accessible to employees and their families, providing convenient and affordable healthcare within 10 miles of where they work and live through a partnership between Amazon and Crossover Health.
Specializing on acute, chronic, and preventive primary care health needs, neighborhood health centers offer a wide range of services, including prescription medication services, vaccinations, mental health, physical therapy, health coaching and same-day pediatric services.
Daniel Feagins, a safety specialist with Amazon since the Sparrows Point fulfillment center opened Aug. 16, 2020, commended the company’s effort to enhance the workplace experience through health and safety resources and initiatives.
“I think Amazon does a great job, especially for someone like me coming in, being new to Amazon,” said Feagins, a native of Houston.
“I just love all the opportunities it gives the associates, and even with me learning the process and having an answer in case an associate comes to me and asks a question. I always try my best to have an answer. If not, I have great leaders I can always ask… so I just think overall, it’s a great process.”
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