auto robotic assembly robots
Two witnesses watched in horror as a fellow Tesla employee rescued the bloodied engineer from an unwitting, but violent robotic assault — perpetrated by an automated assembly device (like these red robot arms above) designed to grab and move freshly cast aluminum car parts.
A Tesla engineer was attacked by a robot during a brutal and bloody malfunction at the company's Giga Texas factory near Austin.

Two witnesses watched in horror as their fellow employee was attacked by the machine designed to grab and move freshly cast aluminum car parts.

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 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

While no other robot-related injures were reported to regulators by Tesla at the Texas factory in either 2021 or 2022, 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 injury report, which Tesla must submit to authorities by law to maintain its lucrative tax breaks in Texas, claimed the engineer did not require time off of work.

But one attorney who represents Tesla's Giga Texas contract workers has told she believes, based on her conversations with workers there, that the number of injuries suffered at the factory is going underreported.

This underreporting, the attorney said, even included the September 28, 2021 death of a construction worker, who had been contracted to help build the factory itself.

'My advice would be to read that report with a grain of salt,' the attorney, Hannah Alexander of the nonprofit Workers Defense Project, told

'We've had multiple workers who were injured,' Alexander said, 'and one worker who died, whose injuries or death are not in these reports that Tesla is supposed to be accurately completing and submitting to the county in order to get tax incentives.'

That construction worker, a contractor named Antelmo Ramírez, died of heat stroke while helping build Tesla's over 2,000-acre long Giga Texas factory, according to a report from the Travis County medical examiner.

Last year, Workers Defense Project filed a complaint on behalf of workers at Giga Texas with the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), alleging Tesla's contractors and subcontractors gave some hires false safety certificates.

'Workers report that when they needed training, they were simply sent PDF files or images of certificates through text or WhatsApp in a matter of days,' Alexander told local NBC affiliate KXAN. 'There's no conceivable way workers could have even taken the training required.'

Alexander's allegations on underreported workplace injuries at the Tesla site, if accurate, would follow a trend of similar findings by state regulators and investigative journalism nonprofits over the years.

A report by the Center for Investigative Reporting's Reveal team found that the company had misclassified a number of on-the-job accidents and injuries as 'personal medical' cases to evade state regulators

California OSHA investigators, for example, found that Tesla had left out 36 injuries in its required government filings in 2018 alone — confirming a prior report by the Center for Investigative Reporting's Reveal team, which found that the company had misclassified a number of on-the-job accidents and injuries as 'personal medical' cases to evade California regulators.

Prior to California OSHA's findings, Tesla had stated that Reveal's claims were 'completely false,' and accused the group of secretly collaborating with laborers who were then attempting to unionize the automaker's California plant.

A copy of Tesla's 2021 Annual Compliance Report for Giga Texas, however, does at least document the software engineer's bloody robot attack, albeit in slim detail.

The scant November 10, 2021, entry describes how a 'laceration, cut, open wound' was inflicted on an 'engineer' for which the 'cause object' was a 'robot.'

According to Tesla, the engineer's wounds, which were inflicted on his left hand, required 'zero' days off from work for recovery.

The two eyewitnesses to the event — which occurred in the section of the Texas factory floor where vehicle chassis are first assembled — told reporters for The Information a more harrowing story, however.

As the bleeding Tesla engineer attempted to wrestle free from the assembly robot's grasp, another worker hit an emergency 'stop' button to end the attack.

Once free, the engineer fell 'a couple of feet down a chute designed to collect scrap aluminum, leaving a trail of blood behind him,' according to The Information, a subscription-based tech news site.

The incident highlights a larger trend told in Tesla's self-reported data on injuries to government authorities: Tesla's Giga Texas plant outpaces the rest of the auto industry both in total accidents and accidents serious enough to require time off.

A ratio of nearly one out of every 21 workers at Tesla's Giga Texas factory was injured on the job in 2022, according to a review by The Information, compared to an industry median rate of one in every 30 workers.

Based on Tesla's own reporting to OSHA, Giga Texas outpaces the rest of the auto industry both in total accidents and accidents serious enough to require time off

For more severe on-the-job injuries, that ratio came out to roughly one in every 26 workers at Tesla's Texas factory, per 2022 filing data on injuries that led to either missed days of work or transfers to other job duties.

For comparison, the median rate at which such injuries occur at other large US auto factories amounted to one in every 38 workers.

To correct and compensate for scale, only US auto plants with 250 workers or more were compared to Tesla's massive Giga Texas plant for the news site's analysis of this data — which had been delivered by Tesla itself to OSHA via mandatory Form 300 reports.

According to sources who spoke to The Information, the rapid two-year construction of the Giga Texas facility added to the lax safety and increased injuries.

Tesla fan or 'insight' blogs, like Tesmanian, called it 'Elon Speed' at the time, boasting that 'Tesla has approved three crew shifts to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.'

'Now the construction is actually going on without interruption,' the site explained, 'and will be completed much faster than expected.'

Tesla's self-reported worker injuries run the gamut from blunt force trauma to chemical exposures to machine accidents that left some laborers recuperating for months at a time.

Tesla's OSHA reports include sprains, cuts and fractures from workers getting caught on machines, as well as sicknesses stemming from contact with toxins like ammonia.

One production associate was unable to work for 127 days (over four months) after their ankle was caught by a moving cart in August 2022.

Soon after, a material handler was struck in the head by a metal object, leaving an injury that took 85 days to recuperate from, according to OSHA's records.

While news coverage and Tesla's own press materials frequently describe the factory as being based in Austin, the Giga factory is more accurately located in a nearby 'unincorporated' area known as Del Valle in that same county.

According to Bloomberg, Tesla scored over $60 million in tax breaks from Travis County and the Del Valle Independent School District for choosing the location.

But those tax incentives were intended to come with strict requirements that Musk's company might not be following, according to Alexander, the attorney with the Workers Defense Project.

'There is this requirement that Tesla compile a compliance report every year for the purposes of this 'economic development' incentive agreement,' Alexander told via phone.

'What I've found — with a lot of the construction workers I've talked to, who've had injuries — is that their injuries haven't been in the report,' Alexander said.

'Like the worker who died, Antelmo Ramírez, his death was not recorded,' the Austin-based attorney continued, 'and the agreement between the county [Travis County] and Tesla — or with, you know, the Colorado River Project, LLC, the entity that Tesla was 'doing business as' here — was very clear.'

'They're supposed to report every construction worker injury or death, and not just the injuries and deaths of people directly employed by Tesla, but any construction worker that was operating on the site.'

The exact language on this issue appears on page 12 of the July 14th, 2020 agreement now available to the public on the Tavis County website.

'Company [Tesla] shall provide a report to the County on an annual basis by March 31 [2021] specifying the number of injuries and deaths, if any, that may have occurred in the performance of the construction of the Colorado River Project [Tesla's Giga factory],' the agreement reads.

But, while Tesla might be an outlier in terms of injuries within the automotive industry, the company is right at home in the Lone Star state, which ranks as the most deadly place to be a construction worker in the US.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction workers in Texas were 22-percent more likely to die on the job in Texas than anywhere else in the country.

'A construction worker dies every three days in Texas,' Alexander told

'The impetus for Tesla coming to Texas, based on other reporting, was that the company was not pleased with having the health and safety protections that California had at the time,' she said.

Those reports, including coverage in the Dallas Morning News, suggested that Musk moved Tesla's headquarters and manufacturing 'after becoming frustrated with restrictions in California during the COVID-19 pandemic.'

Due, in part, to the Giga Texas's sprawling size — over 10 million square-feet of floor space or nearly 100 football fields in total area — the company decided to put portions of the factory into operation while the rest was still being built.

'They continued to construct other parts of it as it was starting to operate,' according to Alexander, 'as early as April 2022, that's whenever Mr. Musk put on the cowboy hat and had the Cyber Rodeo there.'

This, the attorney argues, may have contributed to the factory workers' above-average injury rates. has reached out for comment to Tesla, which dissolved its US media relations team in October 2020.

This article will be amended if the company responds.