The shipping industry has to take the necessary precautions with hazardous materials to ensure the safety of the packaged materials, environment, handlers and the facilities the packages are being stored in or routed through. There’s no way around it. Any shortcuts could lead to costly disasters. Even if you’re a shipping and fulfillment giant, like Amazon.
According to a recent report, Amazon has decided to build separate warehouses for their hazardous goods. This decision was made after an accident involving a hazardous product in late 2018 resulted in the hospitalization of 25 warehouse workers.
The hazardous material in question? Bear repellent. Immediately following the accident, Amazon not only hit the drawing board to come up with a future solution, they also pulled thousands of cans of bear repellent, pepper spray and similar products from their fulfillment centers for the time being. Moving forward, these products will be in more secure, leak-proof packaging and will only be handled by humans and not the warehouse robots.
Furthermore, Amazon is holding the manufacturers of these products to a higher standard of safety when it comes to the packaging.
The new hazardous material-specific warehouses and fulfillment centers were already in the planning stage when the bear repellent incident occurred, but the accident certainly reinforced the need and escalated the timeline. The first of these warehouses will open this summer.
The new warehouses will boast special sprinkler systems and designated storage areas for flammable products, aerosols and oxidizers. Additionally, the staff at these centers will receive special hazardous material training, particularly on what to do in the case of a spill. As a further precaution, deliveries from these warehouses will be ground-transport only, no planes.