Onsite COVID-19 testing for Amazon employees

2nd November 2020

“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our employees” which is why at the onset of the pandemic Amazon moved quickly to make more than 150 COVID-19 related process changes. Today, they are anything but complacent and continue to innovate, learn, and improve the measures they have in place to protect their teams.

Back in March, after Amazon had already implemented social distancing, invested in masks, gloves, enhanced cleaning, and many other health and safety measures—company leaders asked themselves, “Could we do more?” They knew that testing would be an important tool so they decided to pursue in-house COVID-19 testing even though Amazon had no expertise in medical diagnostics.

Since then, Amazon has launched the programme in the U.S. and their latest blog highlights how they are rolling out a pilot programme offering Covid-19 testing for Amazon’s front-line employees in the UK including the site in Dunfermline.

The testing programme, which complements the comprehensive safety measures already in place at their sites, is being led in the UK by Antoine Dreyfus, formerly director of Amazon devices in the EU.

“We firmly believe that if every person, including people with no symptoms, could be tested regularly, it would make a huge difference in how we are all fighting this virus. As a next step in the UK, we have started a pilot at a number of sites for testing employees on a voluntary basis, and we’ve received positive feedback from employees participating. We have also built our own lab in Manchester, which will provide supplemental testing capacity to what the government is already offering. We don’t yet know exactly how it’s going to shape up, but we continue to believe it’s worth trying.”

“To build and manage the programme, we’ve assembled a cross-functional team who have left their day jobs to focus on this project including research scientists, engineers, procurement specialists, operators, financial analysts.”

He went on to say: “Providing regular testing for our employees will allow us to identify asymptomatic cases who might not otherwise be tested. We’re able to catch the virus earlier and place those individuals in quarantine, with full pay, so they can recover before infecting others. We believe this programme will help save lives.”

Speaking in the early weeks of the project, Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, said: "If we can build lab capacity and testing capacity that adds to the capacity that's available in the world, then we have made the world a safer place. I can't imagine anything more rewarding in this time of crisis."

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