Apple Employees Called 911 For Help After Walking Into Glass Walls

Apple employees, Apple Park, 911, glass walls
By [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Apple’s new all-glass spaceship headquarters – also called Apple Park – is one of the most remarkable pieces of architecture in the modern world. However, it has now also been the cause of injuries to Apple employees, prompting numerous calls to 911. The building has glass walls so clear that it is almost invisible to the employees causing injury as they try to walk right through it.

Recently there were reports of Apple employees hurting themselves by walking into the transparent walls, and now the San Francisco Chronicle has the 911 call transcripts to confirm the incidents. Apple employees have hurt themselves on at least three occasions by walking into the glass walls, forcing colleagues to call 911 for help, according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle.

On Jan. 2, two emergency calls were placed about male workers who rammed into one of the 3,000 glass panes in the giant facility. The third call came a few days later regarding another male employee who also got hurt by slamming into the walls.

Albert Salvador, a building official in Cupertino, stated that employees started relocating to Apple Park on Jan. 2 and the accidents were reported the very first day with two Apple employees suffering head injuries. The third incident was reported on Jan. 4, according to the Chronicle.

Of the three employees who was least injured talked to 911 himself, saying: “Um, I walked it into a glass door on the first floor of Apple Park when I was trying to go outside, which is very silly.” The dispatcher sounded baffled and the hurt employee had to clarify saying, “I didn’t walk through a glass door. I walked into a glass door.”

Another Apple employee walked into the wall with such force that he started “bleeding” and was “slightly disoriented.”

According to Salvador, he was always skeptical about the glass walls, and was worried that it would be difficult for employees to distinguish between glass walls and automatic doors.  Both Salvador and Dirk Mattern, who work with the Santa Clara County Fire Department, stated that they did have a discussion about the glass walls of the cafeteria, the highlight of the spaceship building, nine months ago during a visit. One contractor just walked into the invisible door while they were talking, both said, according to San Francisco Chronicle.

To address the concern, black stickers were placed on the corners of the wall to make sure that people know there is a door. However, it didn’t stop people from walking into the wall and getting hurt. Also, some staff placed post-it notes to “mark their presence,” according to Bloomberg. However, the notes were removed as they did not conform to the design of the building.

Foster and Partners, the Apple Park’s architect, which also worked on the Reichstag in Berlin have yet to comment. Apple also refrained from commenting on the accidents, but in January, Dan Whisenhunt, Apple vice president of real estate, acknowledged that people were slamming into the glass and the issue was being addressed. Salvador told CBS San Francisco that Apple had put small white markers on the glass resulting into zero accident calls since then.

Paola Laverde, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Industrial Relations, said that they did not come across similar incidents happening in other glass buildings. Further, she said that the division knows about such incidents happening at Apple Park, but cannot comment if the complaints have been filed or if it is carrying out an inspection, according to San Francisco Chronicle.

Laverde stated that as per California’s Code of Regulations the companies should protect “against the hazard of walking through glass by barriers or conspicuous durable markings.” However, it is meant for the construction workers and not the office employees. There is no such safety regulation in place that obligates companies to protect office workers from walking into glass walls, but the law does want the employer to identify and address hazards in the workplace.

This is not the first time Apple has run into controversies because of the glass walls. Last year in October, Apple faced the heat of the Wildlife Groups, which, according to the Chicago Tribune, claimed that dead birds were found outside Apple’s Chicago Store after it opened on Oct. 20. According to Yahoo7 News, the group blamed the nearly invisible glass walls and the night lighting for the dead birds.