Amazon Rethinks Cell Phone Ban Amid Safety Concerns

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After six workers at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois were killed on December 10 after being hit by a powerful tornado, the tech giant is recalling its plans to reinstate a ban on mobile phones.

Many Amazon employees received a notification from the company on Friday afternoon that personal phones would be allowed in the warehouse “until further notice,” a 180-degree turnaround from the company’s earlier commitment to reinstate the ban by January 2022.

Amazon did not explicitly suggest that the sudden reversal was due to the deadly tornado that killed six employees after it swept through the company’s warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, in early December, partially destroying the building as employees desperately sought shelter in the bathroom and triggering an OSHA investigation.

The announcement also came amid a worrying rise in COVID-19 cases, deadly warehouse shootings, and an increase in weather-related disasters – events where workers need their phones for up-to-date warnings and important safety alerts.

Just this Monday, a group of lawmakers led by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Reps. Cori Bush and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez official correspondence to Amazon seeking answers about the circumstances of the deaths of its warehouse workers, claiming that the tragedy fits “a larger pattern: Amazon puts worker safety at risk in everyday situations and emergencies alike.”

In addition, recently released text messages  between an Amazon delivery driver and a dispatcher show that the driver was repeatedly ordered to finish all deliveries amid tornado sirens wailing in the distance.

For more information, read the original story in Gizmodo.

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