A robot at a Tesla factory near Austin reportedly attacked an engineer, causing him serious injuries. The incident happened in 2021, according to a report filed with regulators.
— John Bachman (@JohnFBachman) December 27, 2023
Witnesses said that the robot, which was originally designed to cut car parts from freshly cast pieces of aluminum and move them, attacked the engineer while he was programming software that controls the robot alongside two others.
The attacking robot had mistakenly been left on while the other two were disabled to allow the engineer and his crew to work on the machines.
The robot allegedly pinned the unnamed engineer and sank its metal claws into his arm and back, causing the man to bleed on the factory floor. Per witness reports, the engineer was left with an “open wound” on his left hand.
It took a colleague pressing the emergency stop button for the engineer to be able to break free from the robot. Despite the trail of blood left by the engineer’s injuries, he was not required to take time off work.
There have been complaints regarding Tesla’s workplace safety and how it handles accident reporting. According to injury reports submitted to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, almost one out of every 21 workers at Tesla’s Giga Texas factory got hurt in 2022. This is higher than the industry average which was one in every 30 workers last year.
When it comes to severe on-the-job injuries, the factory has a ratio of one in every 26 workers compared to the median rate of one in 38 workers at other automotive factories in the U.S.
Speaking to the Information, multiple current and former employees of the automotive company who worked at the Austin factory, accused the company of regularly cutting corners on operations, construction and maintenance, placing workers at risk.
Sources also pointed to safety lapses caused by the company’s management’s demands for speedy production.