A workplace injury at Adidas’ and Kanye West’s Yeezy design office prompted a California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) investigation after the wounded employee was airlifted to a hospital for emergency medical treatment.
The mid-20s Adidas employee who works as a Yeezy shoe designer was helping to move a “massive” 3-D printer, possibly used in creating the rapper’s popular footwear, at the Calabasas Tech Center building that houses West’s office when the device fell over onto his foot, TMZ reported. The man was reportedly trapped for several minutes under the equipment, which required at least seven people to lift and remove from his leg. According to TMZ, the non-union worker may have to undergo amputation to remove the damaged limb, weeks after the injury occurred.
Cal/OSHA’s Van Nuys office launched an investigation on April 26 into the two-month-old incident to determine whether Adidas skirted any regulations that could have prevented the injury. The German athletic apparel and footwear brand could face fines of up to $129,000 if the investigation uncovers “willful and repeated safety violations.”
Cal/OSHA declined to provide further comment.
Athletic and other apparel brands could see more incidents like the Yeezy injury as things like 3-D printing technology play a larger role in bringing innovative designs to life, accelerating the sample cycle and experimenting with new materials.
Workplace injuries in the apparel ecosystem more often occur on the manufacturing, warehouse and logistics side of the supply chain. Recently, Amazon found itself in the spotlight for earning the inglorious distinction of being the No. 1 company on the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH)’s “Dirty Dozen” list of employers racking up preventable on-the-job injuries and fatalities. The COSH report detailed seven workplace deaths at Amazon e-commerce fulfillment warehouses since 2013, three of which occurred during a notably deadly, five-week span.