An incident report compiled by an Environment Health and Safety contractor working for Apple mistakenly sent to hundreds of Apple employees and leaked to Gizmodo includes tantalising clues about some of the new products the notoriously secretive tech company may be cooking up. The report includes over 70 different incidents.
The report, sent out on April 14, is titled “Impact Descriptions Reported in [Santa Clara Valley] from Last Month”, and contains everything from inconsequential reports from employees after running into a door, all the way up to people seeking medical attention after testing new Apple products. The report includes information on the date and location of the incidents — which range from reports of workplace hazards like spills and fires to injuries sustained while on campus — and the level of care provided to the injured person, if any was required.
Many of the incidents detail common workplace injuries. For example, on March 1 at 6:44PM an employee working in building 4 of Apple’s Infinite Loop campus (presumably working within Caffè Macs, Apple’s posh cafeteria for employees) burned his hand pulling fish out of the oven. Or when an employee working at Apple’s Arques office in Sunnyvale on March 14 reported “feeling lightheaded, had difficulty seeing clearly, could not stand. She mentioned feeling stressed.” Another incident, on March 29 at Apple’s Bandley 5 office in Cupertino, involved an employee dealing with a “hazardous material”. “Employee was opening a box of used Apple Pencils in [room number redacted]. As soon as she opened the box, a strong odor emanated from within the box. The employee, who is familiar with lithium battery odours, identified two Pencils as the odor source. She suspected the Pencils were leaking electrolytes.”
Apple did not immediately return a request for comment.
This document lacks a lot of context, and the vague mentions of Apple prototypes jives with the company’s cult-like methods for keeping products under wraps. Even then, the incidents reports can be revealing, so we’ll let you make you own assumptions.
It seems some of the incidents listed within this report may hint at new products Apple may be working on. One report on February 21 that included “medical treatment beyond first aid” involved a prototype unit at Apple’s De Anza office in Cupertino. “After BT4 user study, user advised study lead, that she experienced discomfort in her eye and said she was able to see the laser flash at several points during the study. Study lead referred her to optometrist and secured prototype unit for analysis.” In another report, an employee working at Apple’s Vallco Parkway office in Cupertino reported eye pain on March 2. “Employee reported eye pain after working with new prototype, thought it may be associated with use. He noticed that the security seal on the magenta (outer) case had been broken and had thought the unit may have been tampered with.” A source inside Apple speculated that this injury may have something to do with an augmented reality product Apple may be testing, something like glasses with an overhead display. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he thinks augmented reality will be a pretty big deal.
Further, on March 10, an employee on the Apple Watch team injured his knee while skiing. “Watch EE team has two days ski trip (3/10-3/11) to Tahoe area to help collect core motion data for skiing/boarding activity tracking. It’s also part of team building activity. Employee has participated in the activity and had an injury on his knee.” We asked Apple if it plans to add skiing and snowboarding as tracked activities to its Workout app but have not heard back.
In one incident that required medical treatment beyond first aid, an Apple employee was struck by a company minivan on March 21. A source inside Apple speculates this may have been one of Apple’s minivans designed to collect data for its Maps product. “Minivan 82 (CA licence plate #REDACTED) turned left leaving the [Vallco Parkway] parking lot and struck a pedestrian (Apple employee) crossing the footpath from the opposite direction (at the intersection of Vallco parkway and Main Street Drive Garage Parkway.) The crosswalk signal was white, the van turned on a green light. When the van struck the employee, he fell back several feet; he suffered minor injuries.”
On March 7 at Apple’s Forge office in Cupertino, an employee suffered a swollen toe after doing some testing. “Employee was preforming a testing in our chamber when the [sic] dropped a heavy object on this toe. At that time, he didn’t feel was a big deal, he continued to finish his testing. He just reported to me that is toe is now swollen.”