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SpaceX Under Fire: High Injury Rates Spark Workplace Concerns

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SpaceX Under Fire: High Injury Rates Spark Workplace Concerns

SpaceX, the world leader in rocket launches, is facing increased scrutiny for its workplace practices. A recent security review by Reuters has shed light on a troubling trend at the aerospace company. According to a Reuters review of 2023 safety data filed with US regulators, SpaceX has recorded injury rates for the second consecutive year that far exceed the industry average. This is a concerning development, especially as the injury rate at SpaceX has worsened compared to the previous year.

In 2022, around 600 injuries were reported at SpaceX, including crushed limbs, cuts, burns, eye injuries, electrocutions, amputations, and serious head injuries. The data from previous years are incomplete or non-existent, according to Reuters. The latest data from 2023 shows that SpaceX’s facility in Brownsville, Texas, reported an injury rate of 5.9 per 100 workers, up from 4.8 in 2022. In comparison, the industry average stands at 0.8 injuries per 100 workers.

Specifically, the rocket recovery teams at SpaceX seem to be the most affected, with Pacific Coast workers experiencing an injury rate of 7.6 per 100 workers, which is more than nine times the industry average. The Atlantic team fared slightly better, with 3.5 injuries per 100 workers.

Experts believe that high injury rates could indicate deeper systemic problems within SpaceX. David Michaels, a professor at George Washington University, suggested that these rates may point to poor production quality, which could be a significant concern for commercial partners and NASA, with whom SpaceX has multi-billion dollar contracts.

SpaceX has consistently denied claims that it neglects the safety of its workers. COO Gwynne Shotwell recently tweeted that safety is a top priority for the company. However, concerns about workplace safety are not the only issue plaguing SpaceX. The company has also been accused of hiring discrimination and paying women and minorities less than their white male counterparts. As one of NASA’s largest business partners and a key player in the American space sector, it is imperative for SpaceX to address these workplace issues promptly.

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