Amazon’s chief of workplace safety to step down next month


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Amazon’s chief of workplace safety will step down next month, according to an internal company memo obtained by The Seattle Times, marking the latest in a string of management changes at the tech giant as it rethinks how it treats its employees and customers.

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Amazon senior officer in charge of worker health and safety is leaving the business in one month.

According to a statement sent to staff on Monday by John Felton, the chief of operations at Amazon, Heather MacDougall, who joined the business in 2019 from the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, will leave on October 7.

Felton stated in the note, which CNBC was able to witness, “After developing with us for over three years as a vital member of our leadership team, Heather has opted to pursue other possibilities beyond Amazon.” I want to express my gratitude for her numerous contributions and my best wishes for her future endeavours.

The resignation of MacDougall was verified by an Amazon official.

During a critical time, MacDougall handled the health and safety of Amazon’s 1.5 million+ global employees. Early in 2020, when Covid-19 spread quickly, forcing companies and office buildings to temporarily close, Amazon’s warehouse and delivery staff continued to come into work as demand from customers for quick delivery skyrocketed.

The company’s reaction to the coronavirus, according to employees, was inadequate in protecting them at work, and Amazon has come under intense scrutiny for the injury rates in its facilities. The corporation promotes speed over safety, which puts employees at a larger risk of harm than competitors, according to complaints from workers, labour organisations, and politicians. One key driver of the new organising surge at Amazon facilities is workplace safety concerns.

Reports of dangerous working conditions have been refuted by Amazon. The corporation established challenging objectives to lower injuries under MacDougall’s employment, including a target to reduce recordable event rates, an OSHA measurement encompassing injury and sickness, by half by 2025. Even as worker discontent grew more intense, Amazon pledged to become “Earth’s Best Employer” last year and added it to its list of corporate principles.

Before joining Amazon, MacDougall oversaw for two years the OSHRC, a federal agency charged with looking into workplace health and safety issues between businesses and the Labor Department. In 2013, she was selected by the Obama administration to lead the organisation.

To improve Amazon’s reputation for safety, MacDougall also established relationships with prominent safety groups. Amazon and the National Safety Council established a cooperation in June 2021 with the goal of lowering the number of sprains and strains experienced by warehouse employees.

Becky Gansert, who now serves as vice president of global specialised fulfilment, will take up MacDougall’s position as head of global workplace health and safety. Gansert will also be in charge of Amazon’s learning and development departments, which are entrusted with “improving the everyday experience” of warehouse and delivery personnel, among other things.

Becky is particularly prepared to advance us with both safety and the entire associate experience, according to Felton, who noted that the two are goals that are intimately interwoven.


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