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SpaceX Fined for Worker's Near-Amputation Incident

 

In a recent development, Elon Musk's SpaceX is facing a $3,600 fine following an incident in Washington state that resulted in a "near amputation," according to inspection records. This penalty comes after a comprehensive Reuters investigation last year, which exposed SpaceX's disregard for worker safety regulations and industry standards across its nationwide facilities.

The inspection records, obtained through an open records request, reveal safety violations at SpaceX's Redmond, Washington site. The inspection was prompted by worker complaints, and the company has the option to appeal the decision. The inspectors identified deficiencies such as the lack of a thorough safety program, inadequate communication of work rules, and a system to correct violations.

The "near amputation" incident occurred when a roll of material fell, crushing a worker's foot. Although SpaceX managers claimed it was a one-time incident and addressed the problem, inspectors found that employees were not required to wear steel-toe shoes, despite the increased weight of materials being loaded into machines. Workers reported that safety considerations were often overlooked, attributing it to the company's focus on maximizing production in a short amount of time.

One worker disclosed to inspectors that the machine responsible for loading rolls had been intentionally set up incorrectly to boost production rates during the material loading phase. The injured worker further expressed concerns about the competency of safety officials at the Redmond site.

In a separate incident, an employee suffered a broken ankle less than 24 hours later during a fire alarm evacuation, an event deemed unforeseeable by inspectors, leading to no fines for SpaceX.

The Reuters report from the previous year detailed a history of fines amounting to $50,836 for various violations over the last decade. The findings underscore challenges in enforcing worker safety regulations, with fines limited by law and providing little deterrent for major companies. Chronic understaffing of inspectors at federal and state regulatory agencies further compounds these challenges.

Despite SpaceX being a major contractor for NASA, receiving over $11.8 billion, the space agency has not commented on the matter. NASA has consistently refrained from discussing SpaceX's safety record publicly, emphasizing the option to enforce contract provisions requiring a robust safety program and culture.

In a separate development, the wife of a worker in a coma, resulting from a skull fracture during a 2022 incident, has filed a negligence lawsuit against SpaceX. As of now, neither NASA nor SpaceX has offered comments on the lawsuit. These events raise critical questions about the adequacy of safety measures in the private space industry and the accountability of major players in the sector.

Feb. 14, 2024 1:04 p.m. 1356

#SpaceX #WorkerSafety #ElonMusk #WorkplaceSafety #RegulatoryCompliance #SafetyViolations #OSHA #SpaceIndustry #SpaceExploration #NASAContract #WorkplaceInjuries #SpaceXFine #WorkerRights #IndustrialSafety #SafetyCulture #LegalAction #NASAContractor #WorkplaceStandards #ComplianceIssues #SafetyEnforcement #breakingnews #worldnews #headlines #topstories #globalUpdate #dxbnewsnetwork #dxbnews #dxbdnn #dxbnewsnetworkdnn

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