Amazon’s workplace safety chief to leave next month, memo says

A employee types out parcels within the outbound dock at Amazon success middle in Eastvale, California on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021.

Watchara Phomicinda | MediaNews Group | The Riverside Press-Enterprise by way of Getty Images

Amazon’s high govt overseeing workplace well being and safety is leaving the corporate next month, CNBC has discovered.

Heather MacDougall, who joined Amazon in 2019 from the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, is departing the corporate on Oct. 7, in accordance to a memo that John Felton, Amazon’s head of operations, wrote to staff on Monday.

“After building with us for over three years as an important member of our leadership team, Heather has decided to pursue other opportunities outside Amazon,” Felton wrote within the memo, which was seen by CNBC. “I want to thank her for her many contributions, and I wish her well on the next step in her journey.”

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed MacDougall’s departure.

MacDougall oversaw the well being and safety of Amazon’s international workforce of 1.5 million-plus staff at an important interval. In early 2020, as Covid-19 was spreading quickly, inflicting companies and workplace buildings to quickly shutter, Amazon’s warehouse and supply staff continued to report to work as client demand soared for fast supply.

Employees criticized the corporate’s coronavirus response, arguing it wasn’t doing sufficient to shield them on the job, and Amazon has confronted widespread scrutiny over the damage charges in its warehouses. Workers, labor teams and lawmakers have complained that the corporate prioritizes velocity over safety, which places staff at the next danger of damage than rivals. Workplace safety considerations are one main impetus behind the latest organizing wave at Amazon warehouses.

Amazon has disputed stories of unsafe working circumstances. During MacDougall’s tenure, the corporate set formidable targets to scale back accidents, together with a plan to reduce recordable incident charges, an OSHA measurement overlaying damage and sickness, by half by 2025. Last yr Amazon dedicated to turn into “Earth’s Best Employer,” including it to its checklist of company values, whilst labor unrest intensified.

Prior to her tenure at Amazon, MacDougall served two phrases as the pinnacle of the OSHRC, a federal company charged with reviewing workplace well being and safety disputes between employers and the Labor Department. She was appointed to lead the company by the Obama administration in 2013.

MacDougall additionally solid ties with high-profile safety organizations to burnish Amazon’s safety picture. In June 2021, Amazon and the National Safety Council introduced a partnership to goal the discount of sprains and strains generally suffered by warehouse staff.

Becky Gansert, who serves as vp of world specialty success, will change MacDougall as head of world workplace well being and safety. Gansert will even oversee Amazon’s studying and improvement groups, that are charged with “improving the everyday experience” of warehouse and supply staff, amongst different duties.

“Safety and the overall associate experience are priorities that are intricately linked, and Becky is uniquely qualified to move us forward with both,” Felton stated.


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