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Viruses, holidays pose security challenges for shipping, distribution



Companies that are seeing an increase in holiday shopping and shipping online face countless safety challenges in the workplace, from keeping pace with the development of health and safety standards to hiring and training seasonal workers in environments that have experienced injuries in recent years, says experts. 19659002] "There's already so much going on this year that makes (security) complicated," said Chris Hayes, Wethersfield, Connecticut-based second vice president of risk control at Travelers Cos. Inc. "Hiring seasonal employees for the holidays is always complicated, and the current health problems with the virus make it more difficult."

"Every year, distribution centers increase their dependence on short service workers to meet the holiday needs of e-commerce shopping," says Kim Holly, Dallas-based Senior Vice President of Business Development at ISNetworld, an entrepreneurial and supplier management company. "This year, e-commerce has accelerated at an unprecedented rate, adding even more stress to these warehouses and fulfillment centers."

Sixteen states have now introduced training requirements for COVID-1

9 for all workers, including training on personal protective equipment, social distancing and information on how COVID-19 spreads.

Due to increasing pressure from workers' organizations and publicity regarding the occurrence of serious workplace injuries in distribution centers, companies such as Seattle-based Amazon Inc. face higher scrutiny of a time when onl ine-shopping peaks due to closures, store closures and shoppers' fear of exposing themselves to the virus, experts say.

In an investigation report published on September 29, the journalism website news.org reported that leaked data showed Amazon logged 14,000 serious damages in 150 U.S. warehouses in 2019; 33% higher than Amazon's claims frequency in 2016 and almost twice as much as the industry average. Amazon did not return requests for comment.

"Distribution centers clearly take into account the increase in e-commerce but will risk higher incident rates than usual if their security culture and practices are not adapted to the company's growth," said Holly.

Such companies in at least one state will pay more for workers' compensation in the coming years. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries on November 30 announced that they would place fulfillment centers under their own classification, separate from general warehouses, as of January 1, 2021. The department said that a “review of the inventory classification concluded that fulfillment centers were more dangerous and filed claims more often, which justifies the establishment of a separate risk class, "according to a spokesman.

A spokeswoman for Boca Raton, Florida-based National Council on Compensation Insurance, which provides compensation applications to 36 states, called the change in Washington an "interesting development" and added that "NCCI continues to monitor job change and how it can affect classification codes. "

Add COVID-19 to the job of beginners – statistically more likely to be injured – to help with the holidays and 2020 is "not the year you want to bridge it," Hayes said of safety requirements and training.

"The pace is pretty fast and it's hectic," said Amy Harper, Seattle-based senior director of workplace education and consulting for the National Safety Council. "Employers" are just trying to figure out what they need to do and when. is doing better than others and is a little more prepared, she says.

Atlanta-based United Parcel Service hired 100,000 seasonal workers this year to deal with the holiday crisis.The COVID-19 challenges are new but getting new workers on board with safety requirements is not, says David Keeling, the company's Atlanta-based global health and safety vice president.

"COVID only successfully adds our responsibilities and responsibilities to our employees and new employees, on board them," Keeling said of UPS's strategy , which includes local security groups aimed at educating and educating workers and communities; providing workers with protective equipment; and maintaining social dis policies dancing.

"A lot of time is invested in security training and a lot of it is invested in new employees," he said.

The pandemic's challenge is to train in smaller group settings – which UPS has been using in recent months – and to better "embrace technology" to provide training, says Todd Bradon, the company's head of health and safety and injury prevention, also based in Atlanta.

The company also encourages seasonal workers to work with the family, he said. It is not uncommon for married couples to work together as drivers and assistant package drivers on a truck, he said.

"People bring their bubble to work," says Bradon. “I think one of the testimonies to doing it right is the number of workers who bring friends and family to work. It tells us that employees feel safe enough to do what they do. ”

More insurance and work compensation news about the coronavirus crisis here . Catalog

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