Tesla workers report explosions, bloody injuries and a robot “attack” at a factory in Texas

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Injuries and safety violations are on the rise at the plant

As Tesla prepares to begin delivering the first Cybertrucks to customers, reports from the Texas plant paint a rather disturbing picture, including explosions in the foundry and a robot that “attacked” a worker.

Tesla
Tesla

The Information reported on a number of incidents that occurred at the Gigafactory in Austin, where one in 21 workers was injured in 2022. The data comes from mandatory injury reports that Tesla submits to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

During one incident in 2021, an engineer approached a robot whose arm was supposed to be disabled, but ended up being grabbed and pinned against the wall. The witness said the engineer was bleeding from his back and arms, and after activating the emergency stop, the victim climbed out of the grip and fell into a chute designed to collect aluminum scrap, leaving a trail of blood.

Tesla workers report explosions, bloody injuries and a robot “attack” at a factory in Texas

The injury report Tesla submitted to the department mentions an incident involving the robot, but it doesn’t quite match witness accounts. The report also does not indicate that the victim was given time to recover.

In one other incident, in August 2022, a worker was hit by a trolley, injuring his ankle and leaving him out of work for 127 days. A few days later, another worker suffered a head injury that kept him out of action for 85 days.

Then the incident reports continue to escalate. At least one worker suffered a concussion after being thrown back by an explosion in a foundry. The explosion was believed to have been caused by water accidentally entering an aluminum melting press. A witness said the explosion sent a cloud of fire and smoke into the air, damaged the press and “collapsed” the door. It is unclear whether Tesla reported this to OSHA, as the agency did not conduct an investigation into the case.

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Another worker claimed that the molding machine was not airtight and often “spitted out” molten metal. When the employee presented a solution to the problem, he was reprimanded, claiming that it would slow down production.

In June, contractors installing metal grating for overhead walkways at the plant fell to the ground due to a lack of safety equipment. Part of the metal path fell on them, as a result of which they received fractures, and one had a punctured lung. As a result of the inspection, OSHA fined the contractors.

This is not the only case of falls. According to TheInformation, air conditioning ducts, steel beams and other construction materials also fell near auto mechanics at the plant.

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