This past year of ‘pandemic living’ has been an enormous challenge for essential businesses with regard to safety. Early in March of 2020 it became obvious that we needed to act quickly to keep the virus from spreading in our warehouses and work environments. And act we did… quickly.
We supplied PPE to workers in all facilities. Soon it became clear that PPE should be required of all employees and we scrambled to refill our supply with custom masks. We quickly set up sanitation stations across all warehouses and hired a 3rd Party cleaning agency to first do a deep cleaning in each building, and then provide 2-3 people onsite at each building each day to provide incremental sanitizing and cleaning services.
By this time the CDC had provided guidelines for businesses like ours, and we went full force, making the changes we needed to make and purchasing supplies. We also began a safety blog hoping that our example might help other warehouses in their efforts to create a safe environment for employees.
Work Station Distancing and Sheilds
In early March AMS put in place work station distancing, restructuring assembly lines to accommodate the 6’ rule. We also enforced the distancing rule during breaks and lunches and we searched for and located shields to install between the work stations. We immediately put a hold on returns processing so that packages returning from residences would be held for 72 hours prior to processing.
Preventing Hand Contact
Another one of the early steps we took at AMS was to open up more bathroom facilities, and bring in portable “studio” grade bathroom trailers to allow less use of existing locations, and making it easier to keep all locations sanitized. We also placed air purifiers in all bathrooms.
While we were dealing with work station distancing, we also needed to accomplish distancing in the office, meeting and social spaces. We started scheduling different times for lunch and breaks and we opened up more lunch areas. We located and installed barriers in the lunchrooms so that employees could still sit and eat together while protected and distanced and we installed dividers in the AMS Advance My Skills Learning Center.
Zoom and Work From Home
AMS sent as many of the office personnel as possible home to set up an office and work from there. Zoom communication began being used between the office and warehouse personnel and for all conferences. We discontinued all non-essential meetings, stopped any shared food, buffet, pizza lunches – opting instead to have bag lunches brought in when appropriate.
While we previously had clients and prospects visit our operation for tours and routine meetings, potential clients were given virtual tours so they wouldn’t have to travel to our location. Almost 100% of the AMS meetings moved to Zoom calls.
Solicitations, Visitors and Vendors
Another one of the steps that we have taken is to not allow solicitations without an appointment, and restrict all but essential visitors. We started to do a temperature check on employees and everyone entering the premises in mid-March. At that time we informed all outside vendors that the temperature check and wearing a mask is required including UPS, FedEx, and LTL drivers.
Peak Season and COVID Fatigue
Every year when Peak Season comes around AMS brings on new employees to handle a greatly increased workload. This year as Peak Season came about we informed the new employees about our COVID safety practices and our CEO encouraged all full time employees who were showing signs of fatigue to stay strong, wear the masks, sanitize, take the temperatures and carry on, as COVID hasn’t gone away.
We can add to our list a recent improvement. AMS has stopped using steam cleaners and switched to spraying guns equipped with UV lights. The UV light is used in conjunction with a special mix that kills all viruses including COVID-19. We are sanitizing all areas three times per day.
AMS Fulfillment has one of the most outstanding safety records in the industry and we continue to work hard to keep it that way.