COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Four days after a tornado ripped through Edwardsville, Illinois, killing six employees at an Amazon distribution center, the company said employee safety here in central Ohio is its number one concern.
While company representatives said they couldn’t specifically address what happened in Illinois, they did answer questions about safety and emergency preparedness at facilities in central Ohio.
The site leader at one Amazon distribution center Tuesday said employee safety is something that starts on day one, and employees take part in multiple training exercises each month to make sure they’re prepared in the event of an emergency.
At the Amazon distribution center on Lockbourne Road, signs throughout the facility direct employees to staging areas, shelter in place locations, and evacuation routes.
One of the biggest questions following this weekend’s fatal tornado pertained to the company’s cell phone policy. Officials said all Amazon employees are allowed to keep phones on them to receive alerts.
Officials said there is also a leadership team presence on the floor — one team lead for every 10 employees, and they say those leads can react quickly in case of an emergency.
“I can definitely say safety is our number one priority,” said Garret Deore, a site leader at the Columbus distribution center. “Amazon takes safety first when building all the buildings and every day through our associates.”
“The whole Amazon family is feeling heartbroken by over what happened in Illinois right now,” said Jessica Pawl, an Amazon spokesperson. “We are working with the recovery teams as closely as we can, and our thoughts and prayers are with the community, the families affected, and all the Amazon team that was based there.”
Amazon said a lot of its emergency plans are specific to each particular facility and the risks associated with them. And after Saturday’s tragedy, they say the amazon community is in the thoughts and hearts of all the company’s leaders.