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Self-Driving Trucks, Annoying Co-Workers and Surf’s Up: What We’re Reading This Week

Aug. 12, 2022
Some news to make you think, cringe and smile.

Another week is winding down, but we’re already overwhelmed with work for next week.

But we’ll try not to think about it. We’re packing up the car and getting outta dodge this weekend. We hope you’re finding ways to soak up these dwindling days of summer.

We hope you can find some quiet time to pause, reflect and ready yourself for what lies ahead.

If part of that is asking for a raise or preparing next year’s budget, we encourage you to tune in Monday at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT for a free webinar. EHS Today editors will be discussing the findings from our annual National Safety & Salary survey. We’ll also be releasing our findings, and some of them are surprising. You won’t want to miss it, so go ahead and register here.

Self-Driving Truck Investigation

The Wall Street Journal investigated an autonomous-trucking company following an accident where “an autonomously driven truck fitted with technology by TuSimple Holdings Inc. suddenly veered left, cut across the I-10 highway in Tucson, Ariz., and slammed into a concrete barricade.”

We’ve loosely followed developments in self-driving trucks, but never read anything of this detail. What we read was deeply concerning.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have launched an investigation. The company has blamed human error, but a regulatory disclosure, internal documents and interviews with autonomous driving experts and former TuSimple employees paint a different picture, one where the race to market might be causing safety to take a backseat.

We can’t choose one single example to encapsulate the breadth and detail of the WSJ’s investigation. We recommend you read the whole thing for yourself here (no login required).

Return to Annoying Co-Workers

Over the last several months, the return to office has been framed as good for company culture and morale and how nice it is to catch up with colleagues, but there’s something that’s been missing from the conversation: people can be, to put it mildly, quirky.

“Migrating back to the workplace after spending so much time away can be a bit of a culture shock for many professionals, said Katie Burke, chief people officer at software firm HubSpot Inc, to The Wall Street Journal. “There was this romanticizing of the office experience. Now we’re seeing a return to normalcy.”

But we have hope that there is a version of normal that doesn’t include hearing a boss or co-worker clip their fingernails. We shudder at the mere thought!

We empathize with the worker who lamented the queue to use the microwave and complained about the smell of burnt microwave popcorn. And, can we make it a rule that no one can reheat fish in the microwave?

We can appreciate how the supervisor must have felt when sending a sick colleague home. We remember clacking away at our keyboard when we’d hear our colleagues sniffle, sneeze or hack up a lung. Even before COVID-19, we’d want them to take sick time rather than working through it.

This story from The Wall Street Journal is cringeworthy in the best possible way. We suspect you might have similar tales. Feel free to commiserate, or share, them in the comments below.

Surf’s Up, Pup!

OK, so this last one doesn’t really relate to safety, but it sure did put a smile on our face. And couldn’t we all use more joy and delight in our lives?

Recently, the World Dog Surfing Championships were held in California. There were hundreds of dogs and many more human and canine onlookers. A number of media outlets have covered the competition, and we have found some glorious footage from CNN, USA Today, the BBC and Poland Daily Live, which had the longest video we could find.

These four-legged surfers offer some life lessons and are, dare we say it, an inspiration. First-place winner Faith was abandoned as a puppy, and she was scared of many things. One day at the beach, she jumped on a surfboard, and her owner went with it. She’s a good reminder that it is possible to overcome fears—and that we all have the potential to shine.

And we loved seeing second-place winner wag his tail and even do an impressive wet dog shake while surfing. His owner says he even barks while riding a wave, reminding us that it’s important to make time for fun.

We loved seeing the dogs having fun, and the number of people on the beach or wading into the water at the competition prove we’re not alone. Enjoy!

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