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Amazon introduces dangerous-goods fee after bear spray incident

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Black Friday shopping amazonSellers who use Fulfillment by Amazon have their orders shipped like typical Amazon orders.Fred Greaves/Reuters

  • Amazon announced it will introduce a new fee for sellers using its Fulfillment by Amazon program and who want to store and fulfill “dangerous” items like aerosols and lithium-ion batteries.
  • The fees are a step higher than those charged to store and fulfill other kinds of items.
  • The new fees come after a can of bear repellent fell off a shelf and released fumes in an Amazon warehouse in New Jersey, injuring dozens of workers.

Amazon appears to be discouraging its sellers who use the Fulfillment by Amazon program from sending more dangerous items into its warehouses.

FBA is a program in which third-party sellers send their goods to be stored in Amazon warehouses before they are sold on Amazon.com. Items are then shipped out like a normal order by the e-commerce giant. 

Amazon announced on its seller forum last Wednesday that it will be introducing a new fee for “dangerous” items like aerosol cans and lithium-ion batteries that sellers send to Amazon warehouses. The fees are higher than the regular fees Amazon charges for using Fulfillment by Amazon.

For example: a normal item with a shipping weight of between 10 and 16 ounces and is considered small would qualify for a fee of $2.48, while a “dangerous” item the same size would carry a charge of $3.45.

Amazon has a full list of items it considers “dangerous,” which mostly consists of items that are “flammable or pressurized aerosol substances and items that contain lithium-ion batteries.”

The new fees will go into effect on February 19, 2019, according to a note on Amazon’s forum for sellers. Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for further comment. 

Amazon may have made it more expensive to sell and fulfill these risky items to discourage FBA sellers from sending them to warehouses. Earlier this month, a can of bear spray fell off a shelf in Amazon’s warehouse in Robbinsville, New Jersey. The can released fumes into the fulfillment center, injuring workers.

Read more: 54 workers became sick and one is in critical condition after a can of bear repellent released fumes in an Amazon warehouse

Twenty-four people were sent to local hospitals, and one was in critical condition, local officials said. In total, 54 workers were affected by the incident.

Those affected reported having difficulty breathing and experiencing a burning sensation in the eyes and throat. Bear repellent is mostly made of capsaicin, the chemical found in hot peppers.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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