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Amazon drivers and managers describe harrowing deliveries inside trucks with ‘bald tires,’ broken mirrors, and faulty brakes – Strategy – Pulselive.co.ke

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Some Amazon delivery drivers say the trucks they have used to transport packages to customers’ doorsteps were beaten up and falling apart.

In interviews with Business Insider, current and recently employed drivers and managers of Amazon-affiliated courier companies described anxiety-ridden work shifts where they drove in trucks with broken windows, cracked mirrors, jammed doors, faulty brakes, and tires with poor traction.

“You are riding on bald tires in trucks with broken mirrors and messed up doors,” said Arnold Burns, a former delivery driver for Amazon-affiliated TL Transportation in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. “They have a serious problem with upkeep of their vehicles.”

Former driver Omer Childs said she drove vans with broken windshields, broken doors, and low tire pressure when she worked for Amazon-affiliated Second Samuel Transportation in Michigan.

TL Transportation and Second Samuel Transportation did not respond to requests for comment.

Sid Shah managed vehicle inspections and repairs for DeliverOL, another Amazon-affiliated company, out of an Amazon facility in Aurora, Colorado.

He described vehicle upkeep as “pathetic” and said it was a constant battle to get funding authorization for repairs. Workers were regularly forced to drive trucks with expired registration tags, bald tires, missing side mirrors, jammed doors, broken lights, and other problems, he said.

“I had brake pads and brake discs on one van that needed to be replaced. I called [DeliverOL] and said someone is going to die in this truck if they drive it,” Shah recalled. “They forwarded me to some maintenance guy who said, ‘You don’t need new brake pads, they aren’t under warranty.’

“If brakes are screeching and it’s literally rubbing metal to metal, you need to fix your brakes,” he said. DeliverOL did not respond to requests for comment.

In response to the claims in this story, Amazon provided a statement highlighting a new program that’s designed to alleviate some of the costs of vehicle maintenance.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to safety and to assist our small business partners scale, we recently launched the Delivery Service Partners program,” the company said. “Among other things, this program provides tools and services to our small business partners including new state of the art delivery vans; ongoing preventative maintenance services; regular equipment audits; and technology to ensure the safe operation and upkeep of their vans.”

Amazon isn’t technically responsible for vehicle repairs

Amazon said reports of poor vehicle maintenance are unacceptable.

But the company isn’t technically responsible for maintaining the vehicles that transport its packages. Amazon’s delivery system pushes that burden onto the delivery companies it hires.

Instead of employing drivers directly, Amazon transports packages to customers using drivers employed by UPS, FedEx, USPS, and a number of smaller companies that manage their own fleets, like TL Transportation, Second Samuel Transportation, and DeliverOL. Amazon calls these smaller companies delivery service partners.

These delivery partners work out of Amazon facilities, and Amazon provides them with packages, delivery routes, navigation software, and scanning devices.

Amazon requires the companies to abide by a code of conduct, which reads: “Suppliers must implement a regular machinery maintenance program. Production and other machinery must be routinely evaluated for safety hazards.”

The code also requires that suppliers provide workers with a “safe and healthy work environment.”

But some delivery companies working with Amazon are failing to follow the code, sources said.

“On one van we had, the driver’s side window wouldn’t roll up — and this was during winter in Colorado,” said Eric Jefferies, a former driver for DeliverOL.

He said he suffered severe anxiety while delivering packages for Amazon from “not knowing if my van was going to break down because the company didn’t keep up maintenance on them.”

When former delivery driver Shanaea Burnett reported problems like faulty brakes and broken mirrors to her manager at New Jersey-based Prime EFS, she said he accused her of “always complaining” and told her to “get out of his face.”

Prime EFS did not respond to requests for comment.

One courier company owner, who asked to remain anonymous, admitted to sending broken vans out on the road when his company delivered packages for Amazon.

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He said profit margins were thin from his Amazon business, and that he couldn’t afford to lose revenue by having a truck sit in a repair shop for several days. On top of that, Amazon fines couriers if they can’t complete a route assignment because they don’t have enough vans to complete the work, he said. Two other sources confirmed that Amazon fines couriers for route assignments that they can’t complete.

He claimed that many other courier company owners were facing the same pressures.

A former Amazon manager who acted as a liaison between courier companies and Amazon itself also cited rampant problems with vehicle maintenance and driver safety in general.

“Trucks were rusted out and driving around on spare tires,” this person, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, said. He said Amazon ignored some of his warnings about driver safety.

“We were sounding the alarms,” this person said. “It rolled off their backs.”

New Amazon program offers discounts on vehicle maintenance

In a recent push to grow its network of delivery service partners, Amazon announced a new program that advertised $300,000 in profits for anyone willing to start a courier company operating a fleet of up to 40 trucks.

Amazon purchased 40,000 Mercedes-Benz vans for the new program, which courier companies can lease from Amazon, and negotiated special rates for van insurance and regular maintenance.

The rates are part of a package of incentives designed to lower couriers’ costs of operating.

The incentives also include discounts on insurance plans for employees and a customized payroll system.

The company said it launched the new incentives after analyzing its current system of delivery providers and determining where the companies could make improvements.

“We have worked with our partners, listened to their needs, and have implemented new programs to ensure small delivery businesses serving Amazon customers have the tools they need to deliver a great customer and employee experience,” the company said in response to a recent Business Insider story that highlighted problems within its delivery network.

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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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