Amazon tests disinfectant fog in New York warehouse after coronavirus protests

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(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc. is testing the use of disinfectant fog in a warehouse in Staten Island, New York as of Tuesday, the company told Reuters after workers protested the risk of infection from a coronavirus on the site.

FILE PHOTO: Protesters are seen in the Amazon building during the epidemic of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Staten Island neighborhood of New York, United States, March 30, 2020. REUTERS / Jeenah Moon / File Photo

The measure shows how the world’s largest online retailer aims to increase security cleaning without shutting down essential facilities for its operation, as demanded by some workers and elected officials.

Amazon said it is testing the disinfectant mist used by airlines and hospitals to further disinfect its facilities. The pilot program follows last week’s announcement that the company would check workers’ temperatures and make masks available at all US and European sites on its operating network.

“We continue to explore even more preventative measures to support the health and safety of employees, who provide an essential service in our communities,” Amazon said in a statement.

The New York warehouse, known internally as JFK8, is one of many places where small groups of Amazon employees have stepped out to highlight the risks they face while working where their colleagues have been infected with the virus, causing COVID-19 respiratory disease sometimes fatal.

The virus has killed at least 80,000 people worldwide and infected more than 1.4 million people – including workers at more than 50 Amazon facilities, according to a New York Times report. New York is currently the epicenter of the epidemic in the United States, with by far the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 and associated deaths.

The company said it requires staff to stay away from each other.

The Staten Island warehouse attracted special attention after Amazon fired a paid quarantine worker for participating in a demonstration last week that he helped organize.

The International Union of Food and Commercial Workers has called on business leaders to resign after the disclosure of an internal document in which counsel for Amazon described the employee as “unintelligent or articulate” “

The general counsel then issued a statement saying that frustration with the health risks created by the employee had clouded his judgment.

Report By Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Chris Reese and Bill Berkrot

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.

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