Tesla Worker Reportedly Picked Up, Lacerated By Robot At Giga Texas

Tesla Worker Reportedly Picked Up, Lacerated By Robot At Giga Texas

Alarm bells are being raised following recent reports that Tesla’s auto plant in Austin, Texas, has been the site of frequent injuries and one death and that the company may be minimizing or not reporting incidents to regulators.

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In a gruesome example of the alleged safety lapses at the factory, a recently publicized report indicates that a Tesla engineer who was programming software for two disabled car-making robots was picked up by one of them.

The report, from 2021, indicates that the machine picked the engineer up by the back and arm, and cut his hand. Tesla’s report added that the worker did not need to take any time off work as a result of the incident.

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Read: Tesla Faces $38,000 Fine After Freemont Worker Gets Stuck In Model Y

 Tesla Worker Reportedly Picked Up, Lacerated By Robot At Giga Texas

However, in interviews with the Workers Defense Project, two witnesses said that the incident was even more horrifying than the reports make it out to be. They said that they desperately scrambled to hit the emergency stop button as the engineer struggled to free himself from the robot’s grasp.

After breaking out of the robot’s grasp, he fell “a couple of feet down a chute designed to collect scrap aluminum, leaving a trail of blood behind him,” a report seen by The Information states. Although robots have not been reported as the cause of any other incidents at the factory, injuries are anything but uncommon.

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According to a review, one out of every 21 workers at Tesla’s Giga Texas plant were injured on the job in 2022. One out of every 26 workers was so hurt that they had to miss work. For comparison, the industry median for injuries is one out of every 30 workers, while the median for injuries requiring time off is one out of 38 workers.

Such is the rate of incidents, that Tesla has been accused of misreporting or failing to report injuries entirely. Hannah Alexander, a lawyer with the Workers Defense Project, told the Daily Mail that the company even failed to report the death of a construction worker.

“We’ve had multiple workers who were injured,” said Alexander. “And one worker who died, whose injuries or death are not in these reports that Tesla is supposed to be accurately completing and submitting to the county in order to get tax incentives.”

 Tesla Worker Reportedly Picked Up, Lacerated By Robot At Giga Texas

Indeed, in a contract with Travis County, where the plant is located, Tesla has agreed to compile a compliance report to qualify for $60 million in tax breaks. Alexander believes that the company may be violating its agreement.

The Texas plant is hardly an outlier for the company, which has gained a reputation for lax safety standards and poor working conditions. In California, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) found that Tesla had left injuries out of its reports to regulators. One of the attractive aspects of its move to Texas may have been the state’s relatively permissive safety regulations.

Still, Alexander says that construction workers she spoke to at the plant have been injured on the job and that their injuries weren’t reported. She believes that the speed at which Tesla operates, and its willingness to turn on production lines while the factory was in the process of being built, may have contributed to the high rates of accidents.

 Tesla Worker Reportedly Picked Up, Lacerated By Robot At Giga Texas

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