Silicon Valley is known for moving fast and breaking things, but Apple Inc. may want its employees to slow down in order to not break themselves or the company’s new $5 billion headquarters.
According to documents and sources, Apple
has run into a problem at Apple Park: Because so much of the interior is made from glass — the walls and doors, for example — people are walking into the panes, sometimes painfully.
The company famous for its innovative design experienced at least two incidents of men walking into glass and causing injuries serious enough to warrant calls for local emergency services in the early days of its new “spaceship” campus, according to documents MarketWatch obtained via a public-records request. Both resulted in minor cuts but did not appear to require hospitalization, the records showed.
While the issue might seem humorous, there are workplace regulations that Apple could be violating. California law requires that “employees shall be protected against the hazard of walking through glass by barriers or by conspicuous durable markings,” but the company has not been subject to citations, according to U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration data. If Apple was found to violate the law, it could be subjected to fines and other measures to ensure the company addressed the problem, according to a spokeswoman from the California Department of Industrial relations.
Apple Park was expected to open to employees in April 2017, but construction dragged on and employees only began to move in to the office around the beginning of this year, sources said. The company held its first event on the new campus to show off the 10th-anniversary iPhone in September, and needed a temporary occupancy permit for that event, where Chief Executive Tim Cook said employees would begin moving in later in the year.
According to records obtained from Santa Clara County, it didn’t take long for these problems to start. The two men — one an employee, according to the records — both walked into glass and suffered cuts to the head on Jan. 2.
MarketWatch asked Apple for comment on the issue and any mitigations it has sought to enact. Apple did not provide comment in time for publication.
The extent of the problem and any steps taken to address it are difficult to determine, as Apple keeps a tight lid on the new campus. Cook said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting earlier this week that the public won’t ever be allowed to see the inside without an Apple badge, and authorities have been called for at least one trespassing complaint in the early days of the new headquarters, according to the records.
Some images of the new offices have appeared on Facebook Inc.’s
Instagram app, and show very clear glass in plenty of places.
Apple’s new headquarters is far from the only modern structure that’s run into problems because of large, transparent surfaces. According to a report from the Audubon Society, the Minnesota Vikings’ new football stadium is something of a death trap for birds, killing dozens in several months as members conducted surveys.
No word on whether Apple’s much shorter spaceship office suffers from similar issues.
Apple stock has gained 27.7% in the past year, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average
, which counts Apple as a component, increased 24.3% in that time. Apple is the most valuable company in the world, with a market capitalization of $877.8 billion at Thursday’s closing price of $172.99, according to FactSet.
— Jeremy Owens contributed to this report
View more information: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/people-are-walking-into-glass-at-the-new-apple-headquarters-2018-02-15