A recent report by Reuters suggests that SpaceX employees are resorting to drastic measures, including using stimulants and IV fluids and even sleeping in restrooms, to keep pace with Elon Musk’s ambitious project timelines.
What Happened: The investigation by Reuters, which examined the period from 2014 to the present, revealed over 600 work-related injuries at SpaceX.
The investigation also uncovered the extreme lengths to which employees have gone to meet the demands of their work. Some staff members have reportedly taken Adderall without a prescription and have been found sleeping in the company’s bathrooms to save time.
Former SpaceX employee Travis Carson shared insights with Reuters about the work culture, highlighting the staff’s long hours and challenging conditions. The company’s welders, in particular, often dealt with high temperatures while working on rocket machinery, leading them to seek IV treatments to endure the heat and continue working, he said.
“SpaceX’s idea of safety is: ‘We’ll let you decide what’s safe for you,’ which really means there was no accountability,” said Carson. “That’s a terrible approach to take in industrial environments.”
With approximately 13,000 employees, SpaceX has reported many worker injuries over the past nine years. The number of injuries could be higher than reported, as the company has not consistently submitted comprehensive reports to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, according to Reuters. Furthermore, injury rates at three major SpaceX industrial facilities far exceeded the space-industry average last year.
The report also highlighted concerns regarding workplace safety practices at SpaceX. For instance, Musk’s preferences for certain colors reportedly led to the repainting of machinery and discouraged the use of standard safety vests. Several SpaceX workers told Reuters that Musk discouraged employees from wearing yellow-colored clothes for safety purposes because he does not like bright colors.
The employees also said that Musk would play around with a novelty flamethrower during visits that the billionaire made to SpaceX sites.
While SpaceX did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment, the company previously informed OSHA that it provides adequate safety training to its workforce.
Produced in association with Benzinga