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New Amazon worker wellness plan part of $300M investment in safety

Updated May 17, 2021 - 10:34 am

Amazon is launching a health and safety initiative aimed at reducing on-the-job incidents, the company announced Monday morning.

The e-commerce behemoth said the initiative, dubbed WorkingWell, will provide employees with physical and mental activities, wellness exercises and healthy eating support. Amazon said it is pouring more than $300 million into safety projects this year.

Morgan Viduya, an on-site medical representative at one of Amazon’s facilities in Las Vegas, said the intiative is paying dividends in reducing worksite injuries. Some of the WorkingWell programs are also being incorporated outside of work.

One program piloted at the Las Vegas warehouse where Viduya works was the WorkingWell huddle in which employees are educated on gripping and handling, lifting, nutrition and more.

“These Huddle topics not only apply to employees working in the warehouse but can be applied to their daily activities outside of work as well such as bringing in the groceries or cooking a meal for their family,” said Viduya, who was an EMT before coming to Amazon and is in nursing school while working at one of the sites. “I truly believe Amazon is leading the way in proactive wellness for its employees.”

The Seattle-based company said it began piloting aspects of the WorkingWell program in 2019 and has since expanded to 859,000 employees at 350 sites in North America and Europe. Amazon said the program is aimed at cutting incident rates by 50 percent by 2025.

Common work-related injuries employees suffer while working are musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs, which include sprains or strains caused by repetitive motions. Amazon said that about 40 percent of on-the-job injuries at the company are MSDs and are more likely to occur with newer employees, many of whom might be working in a physical role for the first time.

According to Amazon, the WorkingWell pilots showed great success in reducing MSD injuries and have led to a positive impact on employees’ day-t0-day activities.

“In fact, this program — along with other company initiatives focused on early MSD prevention — helped decrease MSD-related injuries by 32 percent from 2019 to 2020,” the company noted.

Amazon said it provides dedicated spaces within its operations buildings that allow employees to practice voluntary stretching and muscle recovery. The retail giant also has its AmaZen programming, which guides employees through mindfulness practices in individual interactive kiosks within the buildings.

Viduya, who brought one of the AmaZen booths to her site, has a personal passion for self-care.

”It’s important to take a few moments throughout the day to recharge to prevent mental burnout. There have been times where I’ve personally felt burnt out at school and realized that I should have taken the necessary steps to alleviate those feelings beforehand,” she said. “Many times we go through our day without remembering to take time to engage in self-care.”

The AmaZen program provides Amazon employees the opportunity to recharge from day-to-day stress by using the interactive kiosks while they are working, she said.

“By incorporating mindful practices into the work day, Amazon is again showing that it cares about its people and supports keeping them healthy and safe every day,” Viduya said.

Contact Jonathan Ng at jng@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ByJonathanNg on Twitter.

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