The memo says Amazon’s head of workplace safety is leaving next month

A worker sorts packages at the issued dock at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Eastville, California on Tuesday, August 31, 2021.

Wachara Fumisenda | Media News Group | The Riverside Press-Enterprise via Getty Images

AmazonCNBC has learned that the top executive who oversees health and safety in the workplace will be leaving the company next month.

Heather McDougall, who joined Amazon in 2019 from the Occupational Safety and Health Review Committee, will leave the company on October 7, according to a memo written by John Felton, Amazon’s chief operating officer, to employees on Monday.

“After building with us for more than three years as an important member of our leadership team, Heather has decided to pursue other opportunities outside of Amazon,” Felton wrote in the memo, seen by CNBC. “I would like to thank her for her many contributions, and wish her well on the next step in her journey.”

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed McDougall’s departure.

McDougall oversaw the health and safety of Amazon’s global workforce of more than 1.5 million employees at a crucial period. In early 2020, when Covid-19 was spreading rapidly, causing businesses and office buildings to temporarily close, warehouse and delivery staff at Amazon continued to report business as consumer demand for express delivery soared.

employees Criticize The company’s response to the coronavirus, arguing it didn’t do enough to protect them at work, and Amazon faced widespread scrutiny over infection rates in its warehouses. Workers, labor groups and lawmakers have complained that the company prioritizes speed over safety, putting employees at risk Risk of injury is higher than competitors. Safety concerns in the workplace are one of the main drivers behind the latter organized wave in amazon warehouses.

Amazon disputed reports of unsafe working conditions. During MacDougall’s tenure, the company has set ambitious goals to reduce injuries, including plan To cut recordable accident rates, an OSHA measure that covers injuries and illness, by half by 2025. Amazon committed last year To become “the best employer on earth,” by adding her to the company’s list of values, even as labor unrest intensifies.

Prior to her work at Amazon, McDougall served two terms as chair of OSHRC, a federal agency tasked with reviewing workplace health and safety disputes between employers and the Department of Labor. She was appointed to lead the agency by the Obama administration in 2013.

MacDougall has also built relationships with high-profile security organizations to polish Amazon’s security image. In June 2021, Amazon and the National Safety Council announce A partnership designed to reduce the sprains and strains commonly experienced by warehouse workers.

Becky Gansert, vice president of Global Specialization Fulfillment, will replace McDougall as Head of Global Workplace Health and Safety. Gansert will also oversee Amazon Learning and development Teams tasked with “improving the everyday experience” of warehouse and delivery workers, among other tasks.

“Safety and the overall experience of associates are two closely related priorities, and Becky is uniquely qualified to drive us forward with both,” said Felton.