SpaceX fined more than $18K after workplace accident left engineer in a coma: report

video

FOX Business Flash top headlines for October 18

Check out what’s clicking on FoxBusiness.com

SpaceX was fined more than $18,000 after an engineer sustained an injury at work that left him in a coma.

Francisco Cabada, who has worked at the company for a decade, was conducting a routine pressure valve test on a SpaceX raptor engine on Jan. 18 when he was seriously injured in an accident, digital media company Semafor reported.

The engineer was reportedly standing too close to the valve when it hit maximum pressure faster than anticipated, blew a shield off the valve and knocked him unconscious. He suffered injuries to his head, upper and lower extremities, and his respiratory system.

Cabada was rushed to a hospital and treated for a skull fracture and head trauma. While he is no longer in a coma, which he was in for months, he is still unable to communicate and requires medical assistance to survive. It remains unclear if he will ever be able to leave the hospital.

ELON MUSK CHANGES TUNE, SAYS SPACEX WILL ‘KEEP FUNDING UKRAINE’ AFTER ASKING FOR GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

FILE – SpaceX was fined more than $18,000 after an engineer sustained an injury at work that left him in a coma. (Getty Images)

In response to the incident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration hit SpaceX with two penalties totaling $18,475 in the still open investigation. One penalty was rated the highest level of "serious" and had a maximum gravity of 10.

"The final step in the pressure check operation, venting, was done for the first time using an automated program as opposed to the normal manual method that had been used in previous operations," OSHA said in its report.

ELON MUSK OPENING UP STARLINK IN IRAN

Francisco Cabada, who has worked at the company for a decade, was conducting a routine pressure valve test on a SpaceX raptor engine on Jan. 18 when he was seriously injured. (GoFundMe)

"Immediately after initiating the automated venting, the employee was struck by the fuel controller cover which broke free from the controller module," OSHA's report continued. "The controller cover had sheared at the vertical to horizontal beveled seam, liberating the cover face from the assembly. The employee suffered a skull fracture and head trauma and was hospitalized in a coma for months."

Several former SpaceX employees said they were concerned Cabada's family would not be properly compensated if he can no longer work. 

Cabada's family set up a GoFundMe page for financial support. The fundraiser has received more than $52,000 in donations since January.

FILE -The engineer was reportedly standing too close to the valve when it hit maximum pressure faster than anticipated. A shield then blew off the valve and knocked him unconscious. (SpaceX via AP / AP Images)

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment from FOX Business.

Source: Read Full Article