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The Best Kept Secret in Custom Safety Supplies

Moving the needle on worker safety means custom safety products — and a partner capable of handling high-volume, custom orders.

You likely don’t think of “safety” when you think of Amazon Business. While most people know that the smart business buying solution provides a vast selection of sharply priced work and office supplies, many are surprised to learn that it also carries personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety supplies from trusted brands like 3M, Honeywell, and MSA, as well as a large selection of Zappos at Work safety footwear.

Among those surprised to discover Amazon Business's value as a safety supplier was Amazon itself. Amazon's operations network has more than doubled in size since 2019, with more than 1.1 million operations employees across six continents and nearly 5,000 sites. To support this growing workforce, Amazon has 9,000 dedicated safety professionals whose only priority is worker safety. Earning their trust wasn't easy.

"We don’t aspire to be around the average — we want to be the best in the industries in which we operate," says Sarah Rhoads, Amazon's VP of Global Workplace Health & Safety. And the results are showing. Amazon reports operations data to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under two industries: General Warehousing and Storage, and Courier and Express Delivery Services. The data below shows the four-year trends in Amazon's Recordable Incident Rate (RIR), which includes any work-related injury that requires more than basic first-aid treatment, and its Lost Time Incident Rate (LTIR). The Bureau of Labor Statistics determines industry averages based on employer size.

Graph showing worldwide RIR: 30% improved (over past four years) and U.S. RIR: 28% improved (over past four years)
Graph showing Worldwide LTIR: 60% improved (over past four years) and U.S. LTIR: 75% improved (over past four years)
graph showing U.S. RIR Comparison Data for General Warehousing and Storage and U.S. RIR Comparison for Courier and Express Delivery Services
graph showing U.S. LTIR Comparison Data for General Warehousing and Storage and U.S. LTIR Comparison for Courier and Express Delivery Services

Learn more about Amazon's latest safety report, as well as how to interpret Amazon's safety data.


Moving the needle on worker safety means having customized PPE and safety products — and a strategic partner capable of handling high-volume, custom orders and distributing them to multiple sites on tight timelines. For example, when Amazon's Global Health and Safety Procurement (GHSP) team needed 35,000 climbing-style hard hats to counter a rise in the Head Injury Rate (HIR), they turned to Amazon Business.

GHSP tapped into Amazon Business's extensive network of pre-vetted bulk suppliers, partnering with the Amazon Business Strategic Sales team to define and determine their desired specifications — including product requirements, delivery timeframes, and hundreds of delivery locations. Then, leveraging the Request for Quote (RFQ) feature for high-volume purchases, GHSP was able to find a seller who met their unique requirements and received a quote back within 48 hours.

Hard hats are just one example of customized bulk orders available through Amazon Business. "We recently helped design a flashlight for Amazon delivery drivers that had to meet a number of custom requirements. It had to be able to clip onto a hat, onto a shirt, and had to be USB charging. We did the work to identify a supplier that could produce and ship the flashlights to hundreds of thousands of drivers across the country to support peak delivery timelines," says Brent Clore, head of Strategic Sales at Amazon Business. "We can also set up hosted catalogues so that Procurement Managers can be sure that the approved products are being purchased for end users."

Amazon Business helps organizations simplify their buying processes and centralize purchasing data for greater visibility. "Data is the key to a safer tomorrow. In the realm of safety purchasing, the data insight Amazon Business can provide should guide decisions, illuminate the path to protection, and empower everyone to safeguard what matters most, our employees," says Brent Heller, head of US Manufacturing and Industrials at Amazon Business. "When products are bought locally, it can be difficult to know if workers receive the equipment they need to do their jobs safely. Tools like Amazon Business Analytics and Spend Visibility (a Business Prime feature), combined with our ability to support complex delivery needs, can help eliminate that problem."

"We have open dialogues where we ask, 'Tell us everything about what you do, and how we can help,'" continued Heller. "We want to understand organizational structure and employee type. What should the UX look like? What should the buying process look like?" Once these data points are clear, then your Amazon Business account executive can help you determine the right safety solution for your team.

This article was originally pupblished in Safety & Health.

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