Watching Marla Corson walk through an Amazon warehouse with ease, talking with associates on the floor, you get the feeling she’s returned home. In a way, she has. She first worked at Amazon more than 10 years ago as a safety and health manager in New Castle, Delaware at the company’s first fulfillment center outside of Seattle. Corson said she enjoyed the role but left to get her doctorate degree at Purdue University in Energy Management and Systems Technology while continuing to work in the safety field.

“When we think about being the most customer-centric organization, we (also) want to be the most safety-centric organization in the world.””
Marla Corson, director, Amazon North America Customer Fulfillment, Environmental Health and Safety

Her desire to be on the leading edge of safety in the workplace brought Corson back to Amazon in 2017 as the director of Environmental Health and Safety for Amazon’s North American Fulfillment Centers (FCs). “I always thought if I have the opportunity to come back, I will. And part of the reason why is that we're so innovative. We're changing, we're growing, we're developing, and there's so much opportunity to actually do good things and right things for people,” she said.

Corson oversees safety, health, and environment at more than 40 Amazon robotic FCs in the U.S., and seven in Canada where associates pick, pack, and ship Amazon customers’ orders using industry-leading technology. “When we think about being the most customer-centric organization, we (also) want to be the most safety-centric organization in the world,” said Corson.

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Every hour, every day of the week, associates are able to provide direct feedback to their manager, their general manager, and even the CEO on what can be done to improve the safety of our facilities.
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Amazon employees went through more than 1 million hours of safety training in just 2018. Safety training is constant in our buildings, starting from day one with new hire orientation. We provide all associates six hours of safety training on their first day and continuous on-the-job training throughout their tenure.
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Thousands of safety inspections occur each day across our fulfillment center network to ensure safe handling and operation inside FCs. During these daily inspections, senior leaders from all the facility's teams spend time on the production floor to evaluate the work environment, talk to associates about areas for improvement, and move learnings into immediate actions.
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Amazon has made more than 600 changes as a result of associate feedback via our industry-leading Safety Leadership Index tool in which we ask associates what we can do to improve their well-being at work.
Amazon FC Safety Tech
Photo by JORDAN STEAD
Amazon has spent more than $55 million on capital investments directly related to safety improvements in our fulfillment centers. One key capital investment we've made in the last year includes $14 million to improve the safety of our facility parking lots to ensure employees can enter and exit safely and efficiently.

To make that happen in such a dynamic, fast-paced environment, safety is part of everyone’s responsibility as teams are encouraged to look out for each other. Here are five Amazon innovations and technology used to support associates and make their workplaces safer:

1. Safety Saves

Safety Saves increase associate involvement by identifying hazards and fixing them before a near miss occurs or someone is injured. Instead of writing down issues they see on a piece of paper and putting it in a file somewhere, they use a handheld device to log the hazard, and the rest of the floor is made aware in real time.

2. Robotic Tech Vest

The Robotic Tech Vest uses advanced sciences to draw an access path around the associate so the robots automatically slow down or update their route to avoid the area where he or she is working..

3. Trailer Docking and Releasing (TDR)

The TDR app for Fire tablets helps improve safety while associates are working in the trailer yard. TDR is a job at Amazon that only certified associates who have gone through training are allowed to do. Associates can use the Fire tablet to perform a series of checks before they let the trailer depart from the dock door.

4. Safety Campus

Safety Campus is an augmented reality program enabling new associates to do “hazard hunts” in a virtual fulfillment center so they can learn the hazards that can exist. For example, items that are not stored properly could be tripping hazards.

5. PIT Checklist

Amazon has begun testing new technology at some FCs that enable Powered-Industrial Truck (PIT) operators to use digital touchscreens when they sign in. The tech verifies the person has been properly trained on the equipment and takes them through a pre-operational checklist.

Recently, Amazon announced it would be investing $800 million to offer free one-day shipping to its Prime members. The misperception is that Amazon is so focused on delivering quickly for customers that fulfillment centers could become less safe places to work. Corson disagrees. “You can have both,” she said. “There are many things that we’ve actually changed in our operations through the use of technology that actually speed things up and make it safer for our associates, too.”

See Amazon’s dedication to safety for yourself by taking a tour of an Amazon fulfillment center. You’ll see how the amazing people and amazing technology come together to fulfill your order on Amazon.com.