New Telegraph

U.S Lawmakers Call For Scrutiny Of SpaceX Worker Injuries

Three United States (US) lawmakers are calling for a probe into workers’ safety at Elon Musk’s SpaceX following the investigations that documented hundreds of injuries at the rocket company’s manufacturing and launch sites.

Detailed investigations conducted on November 10 reveal a concerning number of injuries at SpaceX industrial facilities in Texas and California, prompting a call for enhanced scrutiny.

Since 2014, the company has faced reports of over 600 workplace-related injuries, including severe cases with lasting consequences.

The report has drawn attention from members of the House of Representatives who are in positions to impact the future of workplace safety regulation.

Representatives overseeing NASA’s activities and worker safety regulations view the situation as a significant issue due to the troubling injury statistics compared to the rest of the space industry.

Zoe Lofgren of California, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee, said the report’s findings were “deeply concerning and must be taken very seriously.”

The science panel oversees NASA’s budget and the activities of the agency’s contractors.

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Democratic Representative, Mark Takano of California called the report “deeply troubling.” Takano is a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, which oversees worker safety matters.

“These horrific and frequent violations at SpaceX are unacceptable,” Takano added. “Accountability for those harmed is overdue, particularly in light of the federal government’s partnership with the company.”

The U.S. space agency NASA has paid SpaceX, whose headquarters are in Hawthorne, California, $11.8 billion to date as a private space contractor.

Democratic Representative Donald Norcross of New Jersey, also a member of the education and workforce committee, called the findings “alarming and certainly a cause for concern.”

“It’s clear that we need to take a closer look and further investigate the facts,” added Norcross, who has pursued inquiries into safety issues at Amazon Inc warehouses, among other employers.

NASA has not commented on the company’s safety record, but told investigators it has the option of enforcing contract provisions that require SpaceX to “have a robust and effective safety program and culture.”

Lori Garver, a former NASA deputy administrator who oversaw the early years of the agency’s relationship with SpaceX, said the high worker injury rates at SpaceX facilities should be examined by NASA to determine the causes.

“It should be a wake-up call to NASA,” added Garver, who called on the agency to “dig into” the issue and “make it better.”

“They shouldn’t have rates higher than other companies,” Garver said. “That is a problem.”

SpaceX’s next-generation spacecraft Starship, developed to carry astronauts to the moon and beyond, was set for takeoff on Saturday for a repeat test launch from south Texas, seven months after its first attempt to reach space ended with an explosion.

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