Latest in Culture

Image credit: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Blue Apron's meal kit service has had worker safety problems

It's learning that tech startups still have to take care of their warehouse staff.
687 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Popular internet companies have a tendency to devote relatively little attention to their warehouse workers, lavishing the most attention on their software engineers. It's their code that makes it all possible, right? However, internet meal kit giant Blue Apron is getting a harsh lesson in the importance of taking care of all its employees. BuzzFeed has learned that Blue Apron's Richmond, California fulfillment center has had numerous crime and safety incidents, including employee violence and OSHA violations. There have been instances of staff brandishing knives, for example, and workers suffering accidents using equipment they're not certified to use.

There have also been complaints about excessive hours (thankfully with overtime), a lack of stringent hiring practices and high stress levels, all of which are the product of Blue Apron's business model. It has to regularly ship meals sourced from a wide array of locations, with both maximum convenience (you can change your order a week before delivery) and extremely low waste levels. Combine that with rapidly growing demand and there's frequently zero tolerance for error, whether it's inventory levels or shipment rates. High employee turnover has reportedly been common, and the company says it had problems with temp agencies recruiting workers with criminal records and other sub-standard behavior.

For its part, Blue Apron tells BuzzFeed that it has "learned from the operational challenges" of earlier times, and is "always working to improve" its environment. And there's evidence to support this. The company has reduced the volume of police visits, hired a safety manager and purposefully slowed its growth. The problem is that Blue Apron didn't fully grasp the importance of these issues early on -- like many tech startups, it was primarily focused on keeping up with its ever-larger customer base. The investigation is a reminder that internet firms have to think about every aspect of their company when they grow, not just their code or subscriber counts.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
687 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Fossil's latest Wear OS watches now make calls using iPhones

Fossil's latest Wear OS watches now make calls using iPhones

View
Toyota will debut its tiny city EV at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show

Toyota will debut its tiny city EV at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show

View
Adidas readies an entire collection of Star Wars basketball shoes

Adidas readies an entire collection of Star Wars basketball shoes

View
Mercedes app was leaking car owners' data to other users

Mercedes app was leaking car owners' data to other users

View
AT&T hikes TV Now prices by as much as $15 per month

AT&T hikes TV Now prices by as much as $15 per month

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr