2021 Safety Innovation Award Winner - National Safety Council

Amazon Wins Green Cross Safety Innovation Award

Booming order fulfillment demands, shifting customer preferences and shipping expectations are driving an evolution in warehouse and material handling technology. Safety technology built into forklifts, or powered industrial trucks, has not evolved as rapidly as other warehouse advancements.

Since 2019, Amazon’s global PIT fleet has grown by 33%. PIT-related serious injury rate decreased by 59% and recordable incident rate decreased by 10% due to telemetry, enhanced training and other risk controls. While Amazon is pleased with this result, the goal is to impact the broader industry and eliminate severe injuries by removing reliance on an operator’s response.

In 2019, Amazon engineers and scientists, and PIT manufacturers, assessed collision avoidance technology. While this type of technology is used in other applications, no PIT original equipment manufacturer has integrated it in a forklift. 

This technology is now being used at six Amazon sites, with four more in process. Two sites have been operating for a year. Amazon has seen a 95% reduction is recordable incidents in 2020 and 100% reduction year-to-date. It expects 100% reduction at the 10 new sites launched in 2021.

Amazon plans to have 100% compliance worldwide by 2025 in this $300 million project.

Meet the Other Finalists

Central Plateau Cleanup Company

Central Plateau Cleanup Company is the primary contractor for environmental cleanup of the Central Plateau and River Corridor at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hanford site, Richland, Washington. Plutonium for the bombs that brought an end to World War II was produced at the site, posing a risk to the local environment, including the Columbia River.

The one-of-a-kind facilities, aging structures and the nature and volume of contamination presents a high-hazard work environment. CPCCo electricians must ensure that all electrical hazards are de-energized and eliminated when preparing facilities for deactivation and demolition. This requires personal protective equipment that is not only compliant with electrical standards, but suitable and protective against radiological and chemical hazards.

Various committees addressed this new challenge, identifying the need to add a heavy-duty breathing tube so workers can use a full-face respirator connected to a powered air purifying respirator. Fire retardant Indura fabric covers were designed to protect the respiratory equipment.

After exposing this newly designed PPE to a simulated arc flash in six different locations, it was declared a success.

United Parcel Service (UPS)

In 2020, escalated demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic created a need to onboard over 460,000 new employees. This opportunity resulted in the creation of a new component to the employee onboarding program called the Intentional Touch Point process. 

The ITP process builds a foundational, safety-based skillset through relationship-based coaching, reducing injuries to new employees and the frequency and severity of crashes. By giving front-line leaders the tools incorporated in the ITP play sheets, including peer feedback videos, new employees increased their confidence to make safe decisions. New employees are actively stepping up and correcting unsafe actions observed by their peers. This is a direct result of clear, consistent and concise safety communication throughout the first year of employment. 

By conducting post-ITP interviews, leadership can leverage results to identify gaps and recognize best practices. Within the first year, over 200,000 positive contacts were completed. In addition, slip-and-fall-type injuries were reduced in severity or cost (incurred dollars) at a 24% decrease in dollars spent in key metro areas like New York and Boston. Since implementing ITP, UPS has demonstrated up to a 23% reduction in one of the most prevalent and disabling loss areas: lifting and lowering.

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