Amazon to open dangerous-goods warehouse after workers injured by bear-spray

Wired reports that a special warehouse will be built for hazardous goods that Amazon stores and ships to customers.

The new warehouse will be in Mississippi and measure 500,000 square feet, specially created to store and process orders of items like bleach cleaner, nail polish and bear spray.

"We recognized there was a need for specially engineered buildings to help safely store some types of products," said Carletta Ooton, the vice president of health, safety, sustainability, security, and compliance at Amazon, Wired reports.

These warehouses will "better use technology to handle consumer goods that could be a health hazard to our employees," Ooton said. Different kinds of dangerous items are separated, like flammable substances and aerosols, and the building has upgraded sprinkler systems.

Other centres will still process these products in accordance with existing Amazon hazardous materials regulations, but the dedicated centre goes further.

The Mississippi centre will be designed around protecting workers who could be exposed to hazardous substances in the event of an accident. Some items like bleach cleaners and hair spray could be dangerous to workers if damaged and their contents ejected into the air.

The staff will receive specific training to deal with these items and their dangers, and the items will ship via ground transportation only.

Storing such hazardous materials in warehouses does come with inherent dangers, as Amazon experienced last December; a can of bear spray fell off a shelf in an Amazon fulfilment centre in Robbinsville, New Jersey, and released fumes injuring workers.

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