- Instacart has expanded safety features for its workers, per an emailed announcement.
- The company developed an alert tool to notify shoppers of real-time nearby critical incidents. It also enhanced its in-app emergency call feature with RapidSOS and added safety lessons with tips for shopping, driving and delivering.
- The changes come as the grocery industry is grappling with how to keep workers and customers safe while reports of violence at grocery stores continue.
The real-time alert technology Instacart has rolled out uses information from law enforcement, social media, local news and other sources to create automated alerts when a critical event happens in the area where the shopper is. The tool, which Instacart developed in partnership with Samdesk, an artificial intelligence-based disruption-monitoring platform, aims to keep shoppers away from the incident area, with Instacart noting it assesses situations to determine if it needs to pause operations in specific stores or areas.
The in-app emergency calling feature, which was first introduced in May 2020, now lets workers share their geolocation, along with other information, with monitoring specialists. Instacart said the changes allow for “faster, data-enriched emergency response” and that the feature is available for workers in the U.S. and Canada in English and French.
The new safety lessons give a walkthrough of how to report an incident in the shopper app, along with safety best practice, the company said. Instacart said it has existing safety lessons on sexual misconduct prevention and reporting, which were developed with RAINN, an anti-sexual assault organization, along with lessons on safe driving and food safety.
The expanded tools build on safety features the company has already released, including its Leave at My Door delivery option, in-app wellness checks, free healthy and safety kits and other offerings Instacart rolled out during the pandemic.
In the U.S., Instacart said if a shopper is injured while working, they have access to injury protection, which includes medical, disability and accidental death benefits. The company also has a care team and a trust and safety team available around the clock.
Instacart has been directly impacted by the violence that’s happened at grocery stores. In March, Instacart shopper Lynn Murray was one of the 10 people killed by a gunman at a King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado.
After that shooting, several other violent incidents happened at grocery stores, including a Publix in Florida and a Kroger in Tennessee, spurring the grocery industry to look at safety technology and update training procedures and store practices.