Hundreds of unreported injuries have occurred at Elon Musk’s SpaceX facilities in less than a decade, amid the company relentlessly pursuing a mission to Mars, a probe has found.
An investigation by Reuters has revealed that SpaceX employees have faced significant health and safety risks to keep up with the demanding work pace set by CEO Elon Musk.
The report uncovered more than 600 previously undisclosed workplace injuries at SpaceX facilities since 2014, representing only a portion of the total undisclosed injuries.
Examining injury logs and public records from the company's six major facilities, Reuters found that SpaceX had failed to report much of the injury data, violating regulatory standards. The investigation involved interviews with numerous current and former SpaceX employees.
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The injury data compiled by Reuters highlighted that over 100 workers suffered cuts or lacerations, 29 experienced broken or dislocated bones, 17 had their hands and fingers crushed, and nine sustained serious head injuries.
Employees attributed the unsafe work environment to Musk's belief that SpaceX plays a crucial role in saving humanity, leading to accelerated work deadlines and employees working long hours under intense pressure.
Employees also claimed that "a certain amount of red tape" was worked around by SpaceX. According to accounts from the investigation, senior managers at SpaceX bypassed safety protocols and product testing, resulting in severe injuries, including employees falling into comas and, in some cases, death.
The decline in workplace safety at SpaceX, coupled with the rapid pace of work, reflects the competitive nature of the space industry, where SpaceX is considered a leading player. The company, valued at over $100 billion (est. £81.29 billion), manufactures rockets and operates Starlink, a satellite internet provider.
Despite its growth, industry-wide pressure and reduced investment in space over the past year have driven companies like SpaceX to intensify efforts to be the first to innovate. Some anticipate SpaceX going public by 2027.