Guide for Protecting Essential Employees During COVID-19

Posted by AMS / Wednesday, April 1, 2020

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How can we best protect essential fulfillment workers – those that come to work in the warehouses, to receive, assemble and ship the products? Supply chain employees are playing an essential role and we cannot underestimate their importance in battling this pandemic. How do we reduce their risk of exposure?

As a B-Corporation, with a longstanding commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our employees, AMS Fulfillment has taken a number of actions that may serve as a guide for other 3rd party logistics companies faced with the challenges of this unprecedented time.

Our company employs around 500 individuals in three cities. We are headquartered in Valencia, California and we occupy several warehouses on both the West and East coasts. AMS is a full service fulfillment services company with a large and diverse client base.

When the coronavirus first came into our awareness in early February, we adopted the recommendations of the CDC, and began sending email communications to every employee.

The actions that followed took place over an approximate three-week time period that followed, as we responded daily to the quickly changing situation.

*We distributed detailed information from the CDC about the virus and encouraged employees to stay at home if they felt at all unwell.

*We asked employees to talk with their manager or HR if they felt they were at risk and needed to be at home. We made it clear that if they chose that option, they would have an equal opportunity towards continued employment with AMS

*We followed up our written communications with Leadership team visits to each building to talk directly with employees.

*We made a commitment to share with employees if an associate were to leave for self-isolation due to either having the COVID-19 virus, or having been possibly infected with the virus.

*We opened up more bathroom facilities, and brought in portable “studio” grade bathroom trailers to allow less use of existing locations, and making it easier to keep all locations sanitized.

*We placed additional hand washing/sanitizing stations, pumps and wipes in our buildings for convenient and frequent hand hygiene.

*We changed around workstations to allow social/professional distancing.

*In addition to work station distancing, we restructured assembly lines to accommodate the 6’ rule in distancing as well, and we enforced the distancing rule during breaks and lunches.

*We propped open most interior doors, except for secure areas, to minimize ‘hands on door handle’ contact.

*We supplied gloves to all facilities. While a supply of masks has not been immediately available, we distributed existing supply to employees requesting a mask and will continue to do so as more become available.

*We brought in 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.

*We developed a checklist for all high-risk common touch areas that must get sanitized a minimum of 4x per day.

*We discontinued all non-essential meetings, gatherings, and educational classes to minimize distancing challenges. We also stopped any shared food, buffet, pizza lunches – opting instead to have bag lunches brought in when appropriate.

*We suspended all work-related travel.

*We sent as many people as possible to work from home – multiple home offices have been set-up.

*We restricted visitors to our facilities, except for essential business operations and emergency situations.

*We did two sets of surveys to be better aware of which of our employees had requests for part time, remain full time, or take a leave of absence. So far, almost all of our declining workforce has been related to voluntary reductions that have coincided with reducing work-loads.

*We put a hold on returns processing so that packages returning from residences are held for 72 hours prior to processing.

*We made a commitment to give any employee that is hospitalized with the covid-19 virus $500 towards hospitalization costs.

*We are doing routine phone calls to each employee that is out on self-isolation to check on them, and to be informed if their circumstances change.

*We are monitoring for symptoms with associates.

AMS is very fortunate, at this point, as our employees are healthy and in good spirits. We encourage fulfillment companies, if they haven’t already put sufficient changes into effect to protect their employees, to do so quickly. Increased sanitation, hand washing and proper social distancing go a long way toward minimizing exposure.

May we all be safe and in good health as we keep the supply chain moving – “B the Change” you wish to see in the world.