To enhance safety and precaution, Amazon is testing a wearable device that alerts warehouse workers when they’re violating social distancing rules, as per a memo obtained by CNBC. Starting Wednesday, the devices will be rolled out at an Amazon warehouse in Kent, Washington.
Amazon has also experimented with cameras equipped with social distancing software. in the past . It is now testing a wearable device that alerts fulfillment center workers when they’re violating rules of social distancing.
The device is a clear plastic sleeve wearable with a clip that features an LED light and audio system, according to a memo seen by CNBC.
As and when workers tend to come too close to one another, the device emits a loud beeping noise, and the light flashes. The facility in Kent, Washington, will begin deploying the device starting Wednesday, as per a private online group for warehouse workers.
Amazon’s hope is that the technology will help employees and teams “work safer” amid the coronavirus pandemic, the memo states. Initially, Amazon is testing the device with daytime warehouse workers.
Workers can pick up the wearable from stations located throughout their facility and will receive instructions on how to use it. Workers return the device at the end of their shift and they can share feedback about the device by scanning a QR code. Workers have the liberty of not using the device if they don’t want to .
An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the company recently began a small-scale pilot of the wearable device at one of its warehouses. The spokesperson stated that the company will use feedback from teams testing the device “to continue to iterate.”
Its memo says “We’re excited to test this technology with you and get your feedback to understand if it’s an effective tool to keep you safe, Additionally, if we are ever notified of a COVID-19 diagnosis, the data captured from the devices of associates who had close contact can be used to conduct contact tracing.”
The tests come as Amazon is also experimenting with other safety measures to enforce social distancing rules at its warehouses.
On Tuesday, Amazon further announced it’s rolling out “Distance Assistants” at a handful of facilities across the U.S. A camera is hooked up to a monitor and a local computing device that alerts users as they walk by whether they’re maintaining proper distancing.
Amazon has added additional features like floor markers in high-traffic areas as a means of advising people on how to practice safe distancing. It has also added jobs at warehouses where employees are in charge of monitoring whether workers follow these rules. The company was also relying on its “top machine learning technologists” to detect areas where it can improve social distancing in its facilities by reviewing CCTV footage.
The company has, however, had its share of criticism too. Many of its warehouse workers, state attorneys, and also politicians have criticized its slow pace of providing personal protective equipment, temperature checks, and other tools for enhancing employee safety . during the pandemic . Its CEO Jeffery Beroz has pushed back on these accusations, saying Amazon has gone to great lengths to protect workers from the coronavirus.