AUSTIN, Texas (KPEL News) - The electric vehicle company that started an EV movement in the United States is facing scrutiny after one of its Texas factory workers was injured by one of its assembly robots in recent years.

The company is also facing accusations of downplaying or covering up other such incidents, according to one report.

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According to The Daily Mail, a Tesla engineer at the Giga Texas factory near Austin "was attacked by a robot during a brutal and bloody malfunction."

"The robot had pinned the man, who was then programming software for two disabled Tesla robots nearby, before sinking its metal claws into the worker's back and arm, leaving a 'trail of blood' along the factory surface," the outlet reported. "The incident - which left the victim with an 'open wound' on his left hand - was revealed in a 2021 injury report filed to Travis county and federal regulators, which has been reviewed by DailyMail.com."

While Tesla must submit accident reports to Texas in order to maintain the tax breaks the company receives, a lawyer for contract workers at the factory is claiming that the true number of accidents at the plant may well be "underreported."

My advice," the attorney, Hannah Alexander of the nonprofit Workers Defense Project, told The Daily Mail, "would be to read that report with a grain of salt."

The incident with the engineer took place on November 10, 2021, according to the company's report. However, the details are slim, and Tesla said the injured worker did not need time off as a result.

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The scratch marks made by the robot's claw "were inflicted on his left hand," the report stated.

Is Automation a Major Safety Risk?

The Daily Mail also noted that this attack is one of many in recent years that have been raising some concerns about automation in the workplace, saying that "the incident comes amid years of heightened concerns over the risks of automated robots in the workplace."

"Reports of increased injuries due to robotic coworkers at Amazon shipment centers, killer droid-surgeons, self-driving cars, and even violence from robotic chess instructors, have led some to question speedy integration of the new tech," the publication noted.

Automation introduces new risks, and if not implemented and maintained properly, it can result in accidents and injuries. Robots and machinery operating alongside human workers pose challenges in terms of ensuring a safe working environment. There is a need for robust safety protocols, training, and monitoring systems to prevent accidents and protect workers from potential harm.

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Moreover, the rapid pace of technological change can outpace regulatory frameworks and safety standards, creating a gap that needs to be addressed. Governments, industry stakeholders, and workers alike are pushing for updated regulations and standards to ensure that the integration of automation in factories prioritizes the well-being and safety of the workforce.

Striking a balance between reaping the benefits of automation and safeguarding jobs and worker safety is crucial for a sustainable and responsible implementation of these technologies in the manufacturing sector.

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