In a leaked pamphlet, Amazon has been found calling its warehouse workers 'industrial athletes' and suggesting them guidelines on how to 'prepare their bodies' to, say, walk up to 13 miles a day or lift 20,000 pounds during their shift. "We want to make sure you feel your best while doing your best!" reads the pamphlet from a warehouse in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"Here at Amazon, you will become an industrial athlete. Just like an athlete who trains for an event, industrial athletes need to prepare their bodies to be able to perform their best at work," reads the pamphlet that's been obtained by Vice News. The pamphlet says that the company's Working Well programme will help warehouse workers prepare their bodies.
The pamphlet is from 2020 when the programme was first piloted at various warehouses.
Nutrition, hydration, sleep, footwear, ergonomic work behaviour, and injury prevention specialists are laid out as sections in the pamphlet to help workers prepare for their demanding work. The 'How Can I Feel Better?' section offers tips such as stretching and getting a massage.
The pamphlet and the programme are part of Amazon's initiatives aimed to improve its 'brutal employer' image.
The guidelines ask warehouse workers to eat well as they are likely to burn around 400 calories every hour. It states that fatigue is often a large factor for injuries. The pamphlet includes suggestions such as eating whole grains, consuming 5-9 servings of food and vegetables, keeping sodium down and potassium up.
Carrying a water bottle all day, drinking about 2 litres of water each day, and monitoring 'urine colour' are some of the other suggestions offered. The Vice News report states some Amazon workers have said that they are often unable to take bathroom bathroom breaks because of the breakneck pace of work. Healthy sleep schedule is 'extremely important for injury prevention, healing and overall health,' states the pamphlet.
It asks its 'industrial athletes' to buy shoes in order to check swollen feet at the end of the day or to ensure that they are not using their backs when exerting force. Three injury prevention specialists are also being offered by the company who can provide tips with 'body discomforts' that come with being an industrial athlete.
The pamphlet clearly points towards the fast pace of work at the company, something that the guidelines do not seem to address. Even as they suggest guidelines to prevent work injuries, a report by Strategic Organizing Center shows that in 2020 Amazon workers were severely injured more than 24,000 times -- twice the rate of the rest of warehouse industry nationwide.
In a statement to Vice News, Amazon claimed that the pamphlet was created in error and that it was immediately removed.
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