New Delhi: Tesla’s Texas Gigafactory, where the cutting-edge Cybertruck is being produced, has faced challenges with worker safety, marked by unfortunate incidents such as explosions, concussions, and robot-related accidents. As Elon Musk gears up to roll out the first Cybertrucks to eagerly awaiting customers, reports reveal that 1 in 21 workers suffered injuries in 2022, based on Tesla’s submissions to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
This massive car factory in Austin, integral to Tesla’s ambitious goal of selling 20 million vehicles annually, has witnessed risky incidents, including an explosion in the casting department and a worker being pinned by a robot. The pressing need for enhanced safety measures is underscored by concerns voiced by current and former workers regarding the recurring pattern of such incidents.
In a notable 2021 incident, an engineer programming manufacturing robots at Tesla’s Texas factory found himself pinned by one of the robots, resulting in a harrowing experience where the robot’s claws pierced his body, drawing blood. Witnesses recounted the shocking event, emphasizing the urgency of addressing safety protocols.
While a report mentions a robot-related injury incident in 2022, witness accounts provide a different perspective. According to one observer, a quick-thinking co-worker pressed an emergency stop button, allowing the engineer to escape the robot’s grip and safely descend a scrap aluminum chute, albeit leaving a trail of blood behind.
Instances like an employee’s ankle getting trapped under a cart in August 2022, resulting in a 127-day absence, and another worker sustaining a head injury with an 85-day absence highlight the pressing need for safety improvements. In early 2023, a worker experienced a concussion due to an explosion in the metal casting area caused by the inadvertent mixing of water into the molten aluminum press machine.
It’s worth noting that Tesla’s Fremont factory in California has also faced similar challenges with worker injuries. Despite these setbacks, the anticipation for the groundbreaking Cybertruck, Tesla’s first new product in years, announced in 2019, remains high. The incidents underscore the importance of prioritizing and enhancing safety measures in the pursuit of automotive innovation.