Tesla worker injured by robot that 'pinned' him to wall with its claws

By John Mercury December 28, 2023

A Tesla engineer was injured by a robot that pinned him to the wall at the company’s giant factory in Texas, according to reports.

The 2021 incident came to light through an injury record filed to regulators.

It noted the injury type as “laceration, cut, open wound” and recorded the “cause object” as a robot.

The robot “pushed its claws” into the man’s body and drew blood from his back and arm, two witnesses told US technology website The Information.

A general view of the Tesla gigafactory in Austin, Texas, U.S., February 28, 2023. REUTERS/Go Nakamura
The Tesla giga factory in Texas

After another worker hit the emergency stop button, the engineer managed to escape the robot’s grasp and fell down a chute designed to collect scrap metal, “leaving a trail of blood behind him”, one of the witnesses said.

The incident happened when the engineer was programming the software that controls the robots, which cut car parts from aluminium, The Information reported.

Two of the robots were disabled, but a third was inadvertently left on. As it went through its normal motions, it caught the worker in its claws.

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Almost one in 21 workers at Tesla’s Giga Texas factory was injured on the job in 2022, according to The Information, compared to the industry average of one in 30.

The Texas site has been Tesla’s global headquarters since 2021, when chief executive Elon Musk announced he was shifting the company’s home from California.

Musk’s SpaceX rocket company also has a launch site at the state’s southern tip, and he moved to Texas in 2020.


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