A Tesla software engineer in Austin, Texas, sustained serious injuries during an attack by a malfunctioning robot on the factory floor, as revealed in a 2021 injury report filed to Travis County and federal regulators. The engineer was programming software for robots involved in cutting car parts from freshly cast aluminum pieces.
Witnesses reported that the robot pinned the engineer, causing an “open wound” on his left hand. The engineer was immobilized until a colleague pressed the emergency stop button, allowing the victim to break free. Despite the severity of the incident, the injured engineer did not require time off work.
This event sheds light on ongoing concerns about workplace safety at Tesla’s Giga Texas plant. Tesla has faced criticism for higher injury rates at the plant compared to industry averages. The Giga Texas plant reported a ratio of one severe injury in every 26 workers, worse than other major US auto factories.
Safety lapses have been attributed to management’s focus on rapid production, raising concerns about construction, maintenance, and operations. The Workers Defense Project filed a complaint with the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) last year, alleging safety certificate issues among Tesla’s contractors and subcontractors.