This Labor Day, spare a thought for the workers who made your doorstep delivery possible – TechCrunch

This Labor Day, spare a thought for the workers who made your doorstep delivery possible – TechCrunch


A few weeks ago, I bought a paperback mystery used by a small online bookseller for $ 3. Interestingly, the book comes with free shipping, I dug a bit and was surprised to see that my small continuum of shopping travels through seven different distribution centers in five states before it reaches me. It was loaded and unloaded on trucks in Indiana, Illinois, Colorado, Nevada and finally California, and was handled by an unknown number of logistics workers on the way, most of them in the middle of the night.

The logistics of delivering the book to me, and the human tool it takes, are terrifying, but we’ve recovered from them to some extent.

The Covid 19 lockdown highlights the importance and complexity of the supply chain dynamics. In this world in the form of epidemics, our dependence on e-commerce has exploded for everything from PPE to toilet paper to the hard-to-find paper mystery. A recent Adobe report states that total online spending increases by 77% year-on-year, increasing by “four to six years.” There is a very real value to this growth, and that we as a society do not think or act on.

While people acknowledge the involvement of frontline workers, they can see that, like doctors and nurses, postal carriers and grocery store workers, there is a hidden infrastructure of logistics workers that keeps the online economy afloat. These workers are also on the front lines, but they are behind the scenes. Most people earn the minimum wage and switch to long, sad, intense stress without strict precautionary measures in case of illness or injury. The fact is that many corporations have not made the safety of these workers a priority. This was true before CoVID-19, but the epidemic gave the issue a new lease of life, forcing Amazon, Walmart, Target and FedEx workers to arrange a walkout among others. And with unprecedented levels of unemployment, more and more people are getting jobs in the logistics sector.

This labor Day by day, it is time to think about how the corporation can better support and protect this important but often forgotten segment of the workforce.

Better warehouse security

Imagine for a second you were transposed into the karmic driven world of Jack the Great. It’s a difficult movement that Jack will repeat a few thousand times before touching. As a 10-year veteran on the job, Jack has done this single job on the floor of this single warehouse more times than he can count. On this particular night, he was tired after playing with his children for a long time, and the disc slipped in his back. Unfortunately, Jack’s plight is still a reality for millions of workers today.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5% of warehouse workers in the United States lose their jobs each year, which is higher than the national average. After service workers like firefighters and police, transportation / shipping and manufacturing / production ranks second and third as the largest number of workplace injuries are away from work. Jobs that involve heavy lifting, difficult repetitions and operating complex machinery pose a serious risk.

Injuries can be devastating for workers, both physically and financially. Taking time off from work can not only result in loss of wages, but can also put people in debt due to health related expenses, creating health traps that are difficult to get out of. Workers’ injuries are also costly for employers. A study by Liberty Mutual, using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Academy of Social Insurance, found that transporting the seriously, non-congenitally injured and the warehouse industry cost. 84.04 million a week. Comes It is in the best interests of corporations to prioritize workplace safety.

One challenge is that the traditional approach to workplace safety is slow, inaccurate and expensive. Without practical intervention, organizations spend about + 2,000 + a worker annually on injury prevention. Within the manufacturing and logistics industries, it costs an annual + 2000+ to compensate full-time employees. Currently, there is no standard solution to prevent workplace injuries while reducing costs, leaving workers like Jack without adequate protection. Fortunately, digital platforms and tools that take advantage of technological innovation, including sensors and wearables, are advancing new ways to prevent workplace accidents and injuries.

Storing Arm, for example, is one of Florish’s portfolio companies. Strong Arm has developed a technology platform that integrates a new generation of industrial wearables, big data analytics and smart algorithms. It is designed to modernize the dynamics of the industry for workers, employers and workers’ compensation insurers. The company’s GDPR wearable hardware devices and data platforms, called FUSE, offer real-time injury prevention feedback and data to support precise intervention to reduce overall injury reduction. Collect data and have reduced the injury rate for their clients by more than 40 years per year.

String Arm has also helped keep workers safe in an epidemic by launching a new suite of qualifications on its FUSE platform, which includes CDC communications, proximity alerts (ie, workers within six feet of each other). Information) and exposure analysis (understanding who has spoken) with whom, when, and for what period, accurately exposing the transfer of any possible contact). These improved capabilities will allow workers to work faster, generate much-needed income, and reduce the risk of covid 19 by up to 95%.

Recover Robotics is another company that uses technological innovation and digital platforms to promote worker safety. Recovery creates an autonomous mobile robot (AMR) that can collect environmental data inside warehouses, factories and distribution centers as well as transmit content. This can remove the heavy loads of human workers and ensure that conditions such as heat remain safe in the work environment. In June 2020, the company announced that it was launching a disinfectant AMR that could uninstall more than 100,000 square feet of space in 1.5 hours, helping workers stay safe and prevent the spread of the virus. In between, it can help to work faster.

Employers should do as much as possible

In its report entitled “The Impact of COVID-19” on Tech Innovation, Lux Research found that the COVID-19 outbreak could potentially put pressure on large manufacturing and logistics operations corporations to assess robotics capabilities. ۔ More companies will explore how they can automate the process, especially those that are repetitive and predictable. Such findings inevitably raise questions about how the increase in automation will affect workers – the eternal “Will robots take all the jobs?” Question. However, we are still far from a world where human workers are obsolete (just ask Elon Musk).

For example, robots are not good at picking up small or strange shaped objects. In the near future, corporations will rely on logistics workers and these responsibilities will protect the safety of these workers. It is not enough to plaster the required OSHA sign on the factory or warehouse floor. Corporations need to do more. Fortunately, in this case, doing the right thing is a good thing. Accepting technological innovation, promoting worker safety is a win-win.



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