SpaceX’s Injury Rates Surpass Industry Average for Second Consecutive Year: Report

SpaceX’s Injury Rates Surpass Industry Average for Second Consecutive Year: Report

By Marisa Taylor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Injury rates at SpaceX facilities continued to exceed the industry average in 2023, according to a Reuters review of safety data reported to U.S. regulators by the space company controlled by billionaire Elon Musk.

Records from 2023, recently disclosed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also show that injury rates at some SpaceX facilities increased compared to those the company reported in 2022. At its manufacturing and launch from Brownsville, Texas, for example, SpaceX reported 5.9 injuries per 100 workers, surpassing its 2022 injury rate of 4.8 and surpassing the space industry average of 0.8.

The company’s high injury rate last year was the subject of a Reuters investigation that found at least 600 workers had been injured so far at the rocket and rocket company. satellites. Those injuries, Reuters found, resulted in crushed limbs, amputations, serious head injuries and one death.

SpaceX did not respond to requests from Reuters seeking comment on the latest figures.

Safety experts say the high injury rates should worry SpaceX customers, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA. The federal space program has increasingly relied on SpaceX in recent years, and by 2022 it had paid the company at least $11.8 billion for various contracts.

“NASA should be concerned about quality of work,” said David Michaels, a former OSHA administrator and now a professor at George Washington University. High injury rates, he added, can be “an indicator of poor production quality.”

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A NASA spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

OSHA did not respond to questions about SpaceX’s injury rate.

Reuters calculated the latest injury rates using data released by OSHA last week. The data for 2023 is the most comprehensive ever provided by SpaceX, which reported injuries at eight major facilities, three more than in 2022. In previous years, SpaceX reported no data for most of its sites, including manufacturing, launching and other facilities.

At a rocket propellant recovery unit in the Pacific Ocean, SpaceX reported 7.6 injuries per 100 workers last year, more than nine times the industry rate.

Neither the company nor Musk, its billionaire founder and CEO, have publicly addressed SpaceX’s safety record in detail.

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s chief operating officer, reposted a video on social media in March showing emergency parachutes being tested at a company site in Florida. Commenting on the video on X, the social media company also controlled by Musk, she wrote that “the safety of astronauts and staff is SpaceX’s highest priority.”

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