The malfunctioning machine reportedly plunged its metal “claws” into a Tesla employee
A Tesla software engineer suffered lacerations after he was mauled by a manufacturing robot at the company’s Texas ‘gigafactory,’ several news outlets have reported, citing documents and witness accounts.
Detailed in an injury report obtained by the Daily Mail, the incident took place in 2021 at Tesla’s sprawling facility in Austin, where an unnamed engineer was attempting to service automated robots designed to fashion car parts from pieces of cast aluminum.
While several machines had been disabled for the maintenance work, one robot unexpectedly leapt into action, pinning the engineer against a surface before “pushing its claws into his body and drawing blood from his back and his arm,” two witnesses told the news website The Information, adding that the worker left a “trail of blood behind him” after freeing himself. He also suffered a “laceration, cut or open wound” to his left hand, the injury report said.
While eyewitnesses to the attack described significant injuries, Tesla’s report to regulators stated the engineer required no paid leave time to recover. The company has so far declined to comment on the incident publicly.
People close to Tesla were quoted as saying that there were numerous safety lapses, and that multiple workplace injuries were the result of technical glitches at the Texas plant.
An attorney representing contract workers at the Austin factory, Hannah Alexander, later told the Daily Mail that injuries to staff, and even fatalities, had been underreported by Tesla, citing the September 2021 death of a construction worker at the facility.
“We’ve had multiple workers who were injured, 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,” Alexander said, adding that Tesla’s injury reports should be read “with a grain of salt.”
Last year, Alexander and the Workers Defense Project, an advocacy group, filed a complaint with the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) alleging safety issues and unreported injuries at the gigafactory. The federal agency has yet to take action, however, and Tesla has rejected similar accusations related to its plant in California, saying they were part of an “ideologically motivated attack.” The company has been slapped with dozens of OSHA fines over the last decade, most over violations at the California location. None involved the Texas factory.
December 27, 2023 at 11:18AM