SpaceX employees claim founder Elon Musk takes a lax approach to safety and has even discouraged the use of yellow-colored safety clothing, citing his dislike for bright colors.
Three former supervisors at SpaceX explained how Musk even had machinery painted in industrial safety yellow repainted in black or blue based on his aesthetic preferences.
Some workers were also reportedly instructed not to wear yellow safety vests when Musk was present.
Managers also sometimes told workers to replace yellow safety tape with red, the supervisors said.
A investigation by Reuters revealed SpaceX had at least 600 unreported worker injuries since 2014, including eight incidents resulting in amputations.
Elon Musk discouraged employees from wearing yellow-colored safety clothes, SpaceX workers have said
Musk doesn’t like bright colors and has even had yellow machinery painted black or blue while yellow safety tape has been replaced with red. Pictured, inside of SpaceX in Hawthorne, California facility
Musk himself at times appeared cavalier about safety on visits to SpaceX sites: Four employees said he sometimes played with a novelty flamethrower.
For years, Musk and his deputies found it ‘hilarious’ to wave the flamethrower around, firing it near other people and giggling ‘like they were in middle school,’ one engineer said.
Musk tweeted in 2018 that the flamethrower was ‘guaranteed to liven up any party!’ At SpaceX, Musk played with the device in close-quarters office settings, said the engineer, who at one point feared Musk would set someone’s hair on fire.
Last year, an open letter penned by some SpaceX employees criticized Musk’s behavior as a ‘source of distraction and embarrassment.’
Musk is known for running his companies with a high level of intensity, occasionally implementing work sprints and reportedly sleeping on the factory floor at Tesla.
At one incident at Musk’s SpaceX facility in McGregor, Texas,