There’s a lot going on in the world, and it can be hard to stay on top of everything. So, here’s five things you need to know that you might have missed this week.
1. Warning for Truck Drivers as Australia Swelters
Australia’s January heat wave has had the country sweltering for much of the first month of the year, and with widespread temperatures over 45 degrees celsius (113 fahrenheit) truck drivers are under increased heat stress, as is their cargo and the trucks that carry it. Heat stresses the engine, tyres and the refrigeration of spoilable goods, as well as speeding the dehydration of drivers, causing hazards as big trucks make their way along Australia’s long haul routes. Experts are warning drivers to stay hydrated and slow down.
2. Airport safety reaching crisis point as shutdown endures
The warnings have been growing louder as the US Government shutdown continues into its fifth week, but on Wednesday the unions that represent air traffic controllers, pilots and flight attendants said the crisis was reaching a tipping point. “In our risk averse industry we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break,” the union presidents said. On Friday the FAA said a “slight increase” in sick calls had caused changes to staffing and altered flight routes at two facilities, but ensured the flying public was still safe.
3. Enforcing Safety Measures Could Have Prevented Death
An inquest into the tragic death at work of Mieczyslaw ‘Mitch’ Siwak, at Flathouse Quay, Portsmouth, in 2017 has found the man’s death could have been prevented if safety procedures already in place were adhered to. Mr Siwak was crushed to death by a container while working for MMD Shipping Services at the port. A forklift driver operating without full visibility did not see Mr Siwak, who the inquest heard was walking outside the safety zone. The inquest jury concluded that supervision was insufficient and safety procedures were not properly enforced.
4. PG&E: Plan to Prevent Wildfires Prohibitively Expensive
A federal judge’s proposal for energy giant PG&E inspect its entire electric grid (almost 100 miles of power lines) is too expensive and would force widespread land clearing to ensure that power lines are not being encroached upon by branches. The dispute about how to ensure the safety of the grid comes after the devastating wildfires of 2018. The judge’s order was made possible as part of his supervision of the company’s probation after a gas pipeline explosion in 2010. It’s estimated the proposal would cost $150 billion. The company is contesting it through the courts.
5. Amazon Launches Delivery Robot
Amazon might have made a lot of noise about wanting to deliver your purchases with drones, but this week the company rolled out a different automated delivery service, the Prime robot, Scout. Scout’s on trail in Snohomish County, north of Seattle, where it currently assists human package delivery teams, but the hope is the bot will be able to go it alone on the sidewalk in the future.
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