Amazon warehouse workers are worried for their safety as supplies of hand sanitizer and wipes run low

Noah Berger/ReutersAn Amazon warehouse worker photographed in 2018.
  • Amazon warehouse workers say they’re running low or completely out of hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.
  • In a new CNBC report, five employees said both critical items “were either in short supply or completely absent.”
  • 2 Amazon warehouse workers, one in the US and another in the UK, corroborated the report to Business Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As Amazon struggles to keep up with the dramatic increase in deliveries due to the coronavirus pandemic, its warehouse workers are on the front lines.

And these people, tasked with handling the goods shipped across the United States and around the world, are saying that it’s become increasingly difficult to stay safe at work. Five Amazon warehouse workers told CNBC that their facilities were either running low or totally out of hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.

Another 2 warehouse workers speaking with Business Insider, one in the US and one in the UK, confirmed the report.

One issue, an employee we spoke with said, is that other employees are pocketing the hand sanitizer for themselves.

“They had small squirt bottles on tables in break rooms,” the US employee said, “but they were being stolen by associates so I’m unsure if they have been removed for that reason, or if we ran out.”

Purell hand sanitizer coronavirusREUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Amazon is massively staffing up its warehouse operations.

The company announced intentions to hire 100,000 people for its warehouse jobs, and instituted a staff-wide pay raise.

But current warehouse staffers have criticised the company for what they see as unsafe working conditions during a health crisis. “We work in stations where we are within 2 feet of each other most of the time,” one person who works in an Amazon returns centre said. “And walking to and from breaks, you’re shoulder to shoulder.”

Amazon representative Timothy Carter told Business Insider that the company has, after speaking with experts, changed its social distance policy to reflect society standards of 6 feet/2 meters between each person. He confirmed that Amazon warehouses sometimes experience shortages on sanitation supplies, but the company aims to have those supplies refilled as quickly as possible.

The company has shuttered at least one warehouse after 3 employees tested positive for COVID-19, and employees at several other Amazon warehouses have also tested positive.

Do you work for Amazon? Got a tip? Contact Isobel Asher Hamilton at [email protected] or [email protected]

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