Disastrous conditions at SpaceX: Research reveals 600 accidents since 2014 – some fatal
Elon Musk is known for his impatience. Because of very tight deadlines, this often comes at the expense of security. After the star After uncovering corresponding grievances at the Tesla factory in Grünheide, a report from Reuters now follows. This time via SpaceX.
covered at the end of September star-Reporter on serious violations of occupational safety and environmental regulations at the Tesla factory in Berlin-Grünheide (find out more here). Apparently the car manufacturer is not alone – according to current research by the Reuters news agency, the space company SpaceX is no different. The common denominator between the two companies: boss Elon Musk and his often almost impossible deadlines.
Since 2014, according to Reuters, there have been 600 accidents at SpaceX. The list reads like the admission logs of a hospital: 100 cuts or lacerations, 29 broken bones or dislocations, 17 bruises to the hands or fingers, nine head injuries, four concussions and one traumatic brain injury. There are also five burns, five electrocutions, eight accidents that resulted in amputations, 12 injuries that affected multiple unspecified body parts, and seven workers with eye injuries. Strains and sprains occurred hundreds of times. A particularly sad case is the death of Lonnie LeBlanc, who apparently sat on a truck to secure the load and was blown off during transport – he hit his head on the asphalt and died, according to the report.
In conversations with current and former employees, company boss Elon Musk and his leadership were repeatedly cited as the reason for the many accidents. It is said that his aggressive deadlines are a breeding ground for hasty work and carelessness. Reuters writes that Musk takes the position that everyone is responsible for their own safety.
Elon Musk is said to reject safety clothing because of its bright color
But he’s obviously not a good role model either. Several SpaceX employees confirmed that the billionaire advised against wearing yellow clothing for safety reasons because he doesn’t like bright colors. The same seems to apply to machines whose bright warning colors, according to the report, he had painted over with blue or black paint to make them more pleasing. It is said that he also repeatedly played with a kind of flamethrower on the premises.
“Elon’s concept that SpaceX is on this mission to go to Mars as quickly as possible and save humanity permeates every part of the company. This justifies SpaceX pushing aside anything that might stand in the way of achieving that goal , including employee safety,” Tom Moline, a former senior avionics engineer at SpaceX, told Reuters.
The severity of some accidents in the USA has long been brought to the attention of the US Agency for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA). But according to Reuters, cooperation between Musk and the authority is proving difficult. In most years, the agency said, SpaceX has failed to comply with its obligation to report the total number of workplace accidents. Companies have actually had to comply with this requirement regularly since 2016. If there are any abnormalities, the reports would help prioritize inspections of potentially dangerous work sites, according to Reuters.
SpaceX caused major environmental damage in Texas
SpaceX isn’t just in trouble with OSHA. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States is now also taking a closer look. It was only in April that she gave the space company a temporary ban on further launches in Texas so that the damage caused by the launch of the world’s largest rocket called “Starship” could be examined.
This initially started spectacularly in mid-April and was blown up even more spectacularly a few minutes later. A little later it became clear that Musk’s ambitions not only affected the rocket, but also parts of the surrounding nature reserve near the launch pad. By omitting a flame trench, which directs the enormous forces into controlled paths when a rocket is launched, the Starship left a huge crater.
In the immediate vicinity of the SpaceX site in Texas are natural beaches and the Boca Chica Wildlife Refuge, home to rare species of birds and turtles. Environmental organizations such as the “Friends of the Wildlife Corridor” have always warned that a rocket launch pad in this area could cause major damage.
After the start, concrete, dirt and flying parts rained down on surrounding parking lots, and even in the town of Port Isabel, more than ten kilometers away, residents complained about broken windows and a carpet of dust that settled there after the start. Parts of the investigations were only completed at the beginning of September. Another launch is still pending as SpaceX must address the 63 deficiencies discovered and an environmental review with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service is ongoing.
The Reuters report agrees with the impressions given by the star was able to collect during extensive research at the Tesla location in Berlin-Grünheide. There, too, deadlines and production results were apparently placed before the safety and health of the employees – the system is strikingly similar to Musk.