Post reshared from: https://mashable.com, An Amazon warehouse in Illinois collapsed after it was hit by a tornado on Friday, killing at least six people. Now the retail giant is being criticized for not allowing workers to carry their mobile phones on the warehouse floor, preventing them from receiving weather warnings.Bloomberg reports that Amazon has been slowly reinstating its long-standing policy of banning mobile phones in its warehouses, after easing the prohibition amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, Amazon’s warehouse workers may be required to leave their phones in lockers, as well as clear metal detectors.Unfortunately, as several Amazon workers have pointed out to Bloomberg, the company’s anti-phone policy cuts them off from important information such as weather safety warnings. Further, their lack of phones means that workers may be unable to quickly contact emergency services or their loved ones in the event of a disaster — particularly if they’re trapped in rubble.
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“After this, everyone is definitely afraid of not being able to keep their phones on them,” an Amazon worker told Bloomberg, speaking on the Illinois warehouse collapse. The worker noted that most colleagues they’d spoken to wanted to keep their phones for emergencies rather than personal matters. Considering the rapid speed at which they’re required to work to meet productivity targets, there’s probably little time for scrolling through Twitter anyway. “The company’s obsession with speed has come at a huge cost for Amazon’s workforce,” the Strategic Organizing Center wrote earlier this year. A study by the SOC found that Amazon warehouse workers are being injured more frequently and more severely than those in other warehouses, with the rate of serious injuries almost 80 percent higher.The recent incident in Illinois isn’t even the first time people have been killed in an Amazon warehouse collapse caused by a tornado: Two men died in a Baltimore warehouse in 2018. “After these [most recent] deaths, there is no way in hell I am relying on Amazon to keep me safe,” an Amazon worker from another Illinois facility told Bloomberg. “If they institute the no cell phone policy, I am resigning.”In response to Friday’s warehouse collapse, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos tweeted “thoughts and prayers” for the deceased workers’ families and loved ones. On Saturday, Bezos’ Blue Origin aerospace company sent six passengers on a joyride to space.
Tweet may have been deleted
“We’re deeply saddened by the news that members of our Amazon family passed away as a result of the storm in Edwardsville, IL,” said Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel in a statement to Mashable. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, and everyone impacted by the tornado. We also want to thank all the first responders for their ongoing efforts on scene. We’re continuing to provide support to our employees and partners in the area.”Amazon declined to comment on the reasoning behind its anti-phone policy, nor whether it had been in place at the collapsed Illinois warehouse. The company also did not comment on whether it planned to continue enforcing the policy at its facilities. However, Amazon did note that employees and drivers are allowed to carry their mobile phones. According to a report by the New York Times, only seven people at the Illinois warehouse were full-time employees, with most being contract delivery drivers. Source: Read More