AMS’ safety record is no accident: Workforce safety during COVID #10

Posted by AMS / Tuesday, October 27, 2020

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It’s week #10 of our Safety Series and we’ve covered a lot of ground. We began by demonstrating how the AMS safety team was protecting employees and making our warehouses and work, lunchroom and classroom spaces ‘pandemic safe’. We then covered how we were using Zoom for communication and working from home, handling visitors, giving potential clients ‘virtual’ tours, and continuing ongoing OSHA compliance in all areas.

This week our Security & Safety Supervisor, Matthew Warholy, and our Operations Manager, Eric Wiseman, take us into an area that not every warehouse or office contends with… earthquake safety. In the following paragraphs we learn the what, why and how of the annual Great California Shakeout drill at AMS Fulfillment.

Matt and Eric offered the following:

Every year, on the third Thursday in October, California businesses, schools and individuals participate in the Great California Shakeout. This is an earthquake preparedness drill that simulates a real earthquake scenario (without the shaking). This year, the drill was on 10/15 at 10:15 AM. Over 6.6 million Californians participated this year in preparation of the “Big One.” Of course, AMS needs to be prepared for any earthquake in our line of work so, it is in our best interest to make sure that we all know what to do when it happens. All warehouse and office personnel participate in the drill at the same time for maximum effect.

We could tell you that AMS prepares a few weeks in advance and makes sure that we sound the alarm at the chosen time, everyone evacuates safely, and we are done. It is much more complicated than that.

AMS is in preparation mode every day because of the way that our warehouses are set up. Like Ken Wiseman says, “Our Safety Record is No Accident”.

  • We make sure that pallets loaded with product do not exceed the weight limit of our racks
  • We use approved pallets for the weight of our products
  • Our racking is also bolted to the floor and braced together for maximum stability and meant to sway with the shaking of an earthquake
  • We make sure that exits are never blocked inside or outside in case of evacuation
  • Most importantly, we prepare our employees with our monthly OSHA walks to learn about safety and empower them to be our safety advocates in such an emergency

These are all important points to consider in case of any natural disaster or accident in our warehouses.

In the weeks prior, AMS prepares our Directors, Managers and Supervisors to speak with employees in their safety meetings on what will happen when an earthquake occurs. On the day of the drill, air horns are sounded signifying that an earthquake is occurring. Employees need to stop, take cover, wait until the shaking stops & then evacuate safely out of the warehouses. We instruct them to evacuate to pre-determined areas and check in with a supervisor. In the case of a real earthquake, we want to make sure that each employee is accounted for. Supervisors observe employees taking cover, evacuation times and if there are any issues stopping them from evacuating safely. We also give them instructions on staying safe at home with their families.

This year was one of our most successful. Out of four warehouses, we had an average evacuation time of just over 1 minute 20 seconds. There were mistakes made and we look for those errors to correct in our training process. Some people evacuated without taking cover. Some did not take cover at all. As a company, we take all these factors into account to correct for when the “Big One” happens for real.

Click here to access the LA County recommendations for business