Amazon warehouses have become a potential ‘hotbed of contamination’, workers claimed yesterday.
Whistleblowers at two distribution plants said they feared the virus would thrive there amid a lack of hand sanitisers and non-enforcement of two-metre social distancing.
Amazon’s business is booming as shop closures and the lockdown has seen internet shopping surge.
Amazon has faced criticism for its protection measures during the crisis. Pictured above is a worker at its Tilbury centre in the UK
But a worker at a factory in Doncaster, where up to 90 night shift workers sort parcels for delivery, said the lack of space means they have been told to keep just one metre apart from each other – not the two metres recommended by the Government and World Health Organisation (WHO) to stop the spread of the virus. Workers who raised concerns were told ‘not now’. Amazon denied the claim.
Workers are also required to write their name in the signing in book, creating a huge risk of cross contamination, he said.
The worker, who wished to be anonymous, said: ‘It’s a potential hotbed of contamination. There’s no separation, no social distancing. If it spreads around our warehouse it could spread around the whole country on these parcels.’
The coronavirus can last on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on plastic, metal and hard surfaces for up to 72 hours according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. However, the WHO says the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low, as is the risk of catching the virus from a package that has travelled and been exposed to different conditions and temperatures.
A worker at a separate Amazon warehouse in Doncaster also said the two-metre rule was not being enforced, especially in the canteen. They also said there was not enough hand sanitiser and staff were not given time to regularly to wash their hands.
‘Staff are dropping like flies because of illness but anyone who has to go home is mocked by the managers. They are hiring staff from all over to try to plug the gaps but this only increases the chances of spreading it.’
They added: ‘When anyone complains to the managers they make out you are crazy and tell you to get back on with your work.’
Chief executive Jeff Bezos,