As the weather gets warmer, preparedness and prevention are paramount to the health and safety of our operations teams and delivery partners. In advance of higher temperatures, we’re using best-in-class technology, amenities and preventative measures to help keep employees and drivers safe.
Safety is a top priority, and in addition to implementing comprehensive policies and procedures related to heat and weather mitigation across our operations, we employ more than 8,000 safety professionals globally who work every day to apply these policies and help keep employees, partners and communities safe. Our goal is to model our commitment to safety under our roofs, on the road and on our flight ramps at every operations site, community and geographic location where we have a presence so all Amazon employees and partners are the safest in the world.
Beating the heat in our buildings
A core focus for us is keeping temperatures in our buildings comfortable and preparing our employees to avoid heat stress. We’ve installed a variety of cooling measures in our buildings, including climate control systems and our state-of-the-art Building Management Systems, which constantly measure the temperature and heat index (temperature plus humidity) in our facilities and proactively alert employees when climate conditions change.
We ensure our heat mitigation practices meet or exceed state requirements and federal guidance, and in many ways, go above and beyond to set more stringent standards for our sites. We’ve seen the positive impacts of an effective heat mitigation program and believe all employers should be held to the same standard. Nearly all of the employees in our North American fulfillment centers work in climate-controlled workplaces, and Amazon is one of only a few companies in the industry to install climate-control systems in our fulfillment centers. Our industrial fans provide cooling comfort for work areas, and we also have air-conditioned crew vans at all of our Amazon Air hubs.
We’ve invested in prevention procedures and training to ensure employees stay safe while working in our facilities. We train all of our employees and partners on the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, environmental and personal risk factors, hydration guidance, and other tips from public health and medical professionals. Most importantly, everyone is encouraged to take a preventive cool-down rest break anytime they need, and employees and safety teams are empowered to speak up to address any temperature-related issues.
Keeping cool outdoors and on the road
We’re continuously evaluating new ways to support drivers during fluctuating weather conditions such as heat waves. Every vehicle bearing the Amazon brand is air conditioned—a feature that is above industry standard—and if the air conditioning isn’t working on a vehicle, that vehicle is taken out of service immediately. To date, we’ve invested over $30 million to insulate our vans, which will help reduce the internal temperature.
We’ve also invested in heat mitigation supplies to help drivers stay cool and hydrated while on the road, including providing electrolyte powder, a cooler for each vehicle, a bigger, 64-ounce insulated tumbler, cooling bandanas, and sunscreen for all delivery associates. Ice machines are available at every delivery station.
Our best tool against heat-related illness is taking breaks. Last year alone, we worked with Delivery Service Partners to adjust routes by more than 55 million minutes, or nearly 46,000 days, so drivers can take additional breaks to hydrate, rest, and cool down their core temperatures. We do this by closely monitoring the weather and heat index thresholds down to the zip code level and making route adjustments based on local information. We also strongly encourage any driver who is feeling impacted by the heat to immediately stop work and seek help.
Lastly, Amazon’s latest custom electric vehicles also include industry-leading features like ventilated seats for fast cooling (or heating in the winter).
Prioritizing safety during weather events
We keep a close pulse on our operations network across the country to ensure things are running smoothly and weather-related disruptions don’t impact our employees, partners, or customers. Amazon’s Contingency Response Center (CRC) operates 24 hours a day and uses a best-in-class, Amazon-developed forecasting tool to provide alerts when increasing levels of heat or severe weather events are expected. Once a severe weather alert is flagged, we prepare activities and a timeline to act. Through this system, the CRC is able to communicate directly with drivers when severe weather may impact their route and make sure they are able to seek shelter or take a break depending on conditions.
The Amazon Air Network Control Center (NCC) is another 24/7 operation near our Amazon Air Hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The NCC is responsible for coordinating with Amazon Air's air carrier partners to ensure global operations run safely and on time. From Lakeland, Florida to Mumbai, India, the NCC monitors our flight and capacity plans by utilizing state-of-the-art Amazon technology, such as predictive disruption management tools and network planning models, to deliver for Amazon’s customers.
We’re proud of the investments we’re making to support employees and partners. Safety is woven into the fabric of our operations culture, and we will continue to innovate and obsess over it so that we are providing the safest possible experience for employees and partners across our operations network.
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