The Apple Park campus office.

Employees at Apple Park can't stop injuring themselves

What must it be like to work for Apple? Not just in the stores where they sell their products, but actually in the main offices where management dwells, making decisions that will change the course of technology. The corporation is the grand-daddy of Silicon Valley, and its inner workings are mysterious and secretive. Not only that, but you'd expect their offices to be slick and fancy, filled with the latest high tech gadgets and conveniences.

Since the company has been doing so well, it's opening more and more offices all over the world, including a new one located at London's iconic Battersea Power Station, and most impressive of all, a new international headquarters in Cupertino, California. Apple Park offices, which opened in April 2017, is a gigantic bagel-shaped building capable of housing over 12,000 Apple employees. The open-plan office had been the dream of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who has always wanted the company to operate from a campus that resembles a nature refuge: a green space which would encourage creativity, blue-sky thinking, and all those other buzzwords.

Indeed, the design of this campus (which cost an estimated $5 billion to build) reflects Apple's usual aesthetic, featuring glass walls, sleek curves and a distinctly modernist vibe. But it's not all sunshine and rainbows at Apple's new premises; you see, ever since the worker bees moved into their new hive, a significant number of them have ended up injuring themselves for a pretty hilarious reason. As it turns out, the glass walls and sleek curves are actually doing their jobs too well! A report by MarketWatch claims that the company has been forced to phone the emergency services to assist multiple employees who have ended up badly injured, after accidentally walking headfirst into the planes of clear glass panes.

It sounds like something from a slapstick skit, but it's 100 per cent true. None of the injured employees affected have been hospitalised as a result of these accidents, but a fair few have been treated for lacerations to the head, such was the force at which they hit the glass. But here's the best bit. Apparently, more than a few of them (ironically enough) were too absorbed in the details of their iPhones and iPads to look where they were going. For a while, the hapless employees tried to prevent further maladies by sticking post-it note warnings to the glass, so that people who were in a hurry could clearly see that they were a barrier. However, they were later told to remove them "because they detracted from the building’s design." Apparently more than cuts, bruises and ambulances would anyway.

The San Francisco Chronicle recently managed to obtain transcripts of the 911 calls made by startled Apple employees to the emergency services. In conversation dated January 2, the caller states that: "We had an individual who ran into a glass wall pane and they hit their head. They have a small cut on their head and they are bleeding, slightly disoriented. We have on site security with them right now ... he’s conscious and breathing." On January 4, in a separate incident, a sheepish employee called 911 and stated: "Um, I walked into a glass door on the first floor of Apple Park when I was trying to go outside, which was very silly."

Apple Park reportedly boasts the largest single piece of curved glass in the world as a part of its interior design, while a further 3,000 gigantic curved glass panes have additionally been used to build the side walls at the four-story campus. In total, Apple Park contains around six kilometres of curved glass, created by construction company Seele. Seele has also built the glass panes for Apple’s store on Fifth Avenue, as well as a number of other shops around the world.

This isn't even the first time that Apple's spotless glass panes have caused trouble either. Back in 2012, an 83-year-old woman filed a lawsuit Apple after she walked into a glass door at an Apple store and immediately broke her nose. However, human beings aren't the only ones who have been affected by Apple's clear glass fetish. Apple has recently been forced to dim the lights at one of its Chicago stores around autumn due to the large number of birds who died as a result of flying into their windows. According to the volunteer group Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, which protects feathery creatures in the Windy City, migratory avian species have been inadvertently committing suicide in massive quantities, after becoming disoriented by the store’s lights.

Glass windows in the Apple offices. Credit: Getty

There's also been concern from some commentators that Apple Park's design constitutes a workplace health code violation under Californian law. According to article three, subchapter four of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's official regulations, any workers employed in the state of California must: "be protected against the hazard of walking through glass by barriers or by conspicuous durable markings," and if Apple Park is proven to contravene this rule then the corporation could face a fine from federal legislators.

Still, I don't think I should come down too hard on them, considering how many times I've cracked the screen of my phone for stupid reasons. But Apple has faced an additional controversy this month, in spite of a much-touted iOS update, after an obscure Indian symbol forced Apple devices to unexpectedly crash.