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Amazon addressing safety in its fulfillment centers

Company has almost 15,000 workers in Maryland
Posted at 4:26 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 17:12:33-04

BALTIMORE — She spends most of her day racing against the clock moving products, but Dominique Nesbeth volunteered to be a social distancing team member at the Amazon Fulfillment Center on Broening Highway.

“I like the fact especially that I’m on the team so I can see firsthand what we do so I know for a fact I feel safe here and everyone else too, because we need to make sure of that,” said Nesbeth.

Along with her normal duties, Sherreyl Gilchrist trains new employees on safe practices.

“Of course, knowledge is power,” said Gilchrist. “Training grown adults to keep a mask on while working has been a little work, but we’re all dedicated to being as safe as possible. We have families we want to go home to at the end of the day and I have three boys myself so I definitely want to be able to return when this is over.”

Back in March, the center took its first steps to protect its 3,000 employees.

“Staggered shift breaks to make sure our people aren’t crowding at the entrances. We’re allowing social distancing. Enforcing the six-foot rule within the building and then we started deploying masks for everyone,” said General Manager Harkirat Sareen.

Even in a 1.2 million square foot building, creating room for a six-foot buffer wasn’t easy, requiring 150 separate changes in the sorting and delivery of goods, as well as makeshift barriers and one-way walk paths.

Thermal temperature screenings for everyone entering the building began last month.

“If somebody walks in and let’s say their temperature is above a certain level, we talk with them, work with them and ask them to go home,” said Sareen.

They are measures, which workers like Dominique Nesbeth appreciate, saying she feels safer at work, than when she has to run out to a grocery store.

“I wouldn’t be working here if I didn’t feel safe,” Nesbeth added.