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12 Nov, 2023
1 min time to read

A recent investigation by Reuters has shed light on safety concerns at SpaceX, revealing over 600 previously unreported injuries dating back to 2014.

Current and former employees cited in the report attribute these issues to CEO Elon Musk's ambitious deadlines and aversion to bureaucracy. Musk's goal of speeding up a human mission to Mars has allegedly caused the company to cut corners and disregard proper safety protocols.

The investigation found that injury rates at some SpaceX facilities far exceed the industry average of 0.8 injuries or illnesses per 100 workers. For instance, SpaceX's Brownsville, Texas location reported an injury rate of 4.8 per 100 workers in 2022, while the Hawthorne, California manufacturing facility had a rate of 1.8. Even at the McGregor, Texas rocket testing site, the injury rate was 2.7.

Employees have suffered various injuries, including broken bones, lacerations, crushed fingers, burns, electric shocks, and serious head wounds. Some incidents resulted in permanent disabilities, such as an employee who was blinded in 2021 and another who has been in a coma since January 2022.

Despite these incidents, SpaceX has faced only nominal fines for safety lapses. The company has also been criticized for failing to submit injury data to regulators for much of its history.

The report is based on interviews with more than two dozen current and former employees, as well as individuals with knowledge of SpaceX's safety practices.