SpaceX Faces Safety Violations Following ‘Near Amputation’ Incident SpaceX Faces Safety Violations Following ‘Near Amputation’ Incident

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By Ronald Tech



SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, has been fined $3,600 by U.S. worker safety officials following a ‘near amputation’ incident at its Washington site, as revealed by inspection records. This penalty comes in the midst of ongoing concerns regarding the company’s lax attitude towards worker safety regulations.

The Incident: An investigation carried out in late 2021 uncovered over 600 previously unreported injuries sustained by SpaceX workers since 2014. The company has refrained from commenting on any of these incidents, including a fatality and another injury resulting from a rocket engine malfunction in 2022, leading to a worker’s coma, as reported by Reuters.

The Department of Labor and Industries in Washington state identified new safety violations at SpaceX’s Redmond site in December, prompted by worker complaints. Inspectors found inadequate communication of work rules, absence of a comprehensive safety program, and a lack of a system to rectify violations.

A worker’s foot was crushed by a falling roll of material, resulting in the ‘near amputation.’ Despite SpaceX management’s assertion that this was an isolated incident, inspectors discovered that employees were not required to wear steel-toe shoes, even as the weight of the materials they handled increased significantly.

SpaceX did not respond immediately to Benzinga’s request for comment.

One employee informed inspectors that safety might be overlooked due to the company’s production targets, mentioning the lack of competence among safety officials at the Redmond site to implement a safety plan. Furthermore, the report highlighted another incident where a worker sustained a broken ankle after jumping off a dock during a fire alarm, but SpaceX was not fined in this case.

Significance: This incident adds to a series of safety concerns at SpaceX. An inquiry last year found that the company had flouted worker safety regulations and standard practices at its facilities across the country, resulting in over 600 previously unreported injuries since 2014.

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The incident serves to compound the string of controversies surrounding SpaceX’s workplace environment. A report in November unveiled that SpaceX employees resorted to extreme measures, including using stimulants and sleeping in restrooms, to meet Musk’s ambitious project timelines. In addition, the company recently faced allegations of discrimination and harassment in California. These events have raised significant worries about the company’s safety culture and its treatment of employees.

Moreover, SpaceX has come under fire for its labor practices, with a lawsuit filed against the U.S. labor board in January, challenging allegations of unlawful dismissals of employees who criticized Musk. These incidents have sparked a broader conversation about labor rights and workplace safety within the space industry.

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