Photo: AP
Last month, reports emerged that Apple’s new “spaceship” campus in Cupertino, California—which hosts roughly 13,000 employees behind around 3,000 giant panes of glass—had resulted in the company’s employees repeatedly injuring themselves by walking straight into the semi-visible walls.
Cupertino building officials allegedly warned Apple that the $5 billion Apple Park design would lead to just that happening, and per a public-records request by the San Francisco Chronicle, we now have 911 call records from at least three times those officials were proven right. On January 2nd, 2018, area 911 services fielded two separate calls regarding distracted Apple workers who slammed into glass walls, as well as another two days later. 
All three of the injured happened to be men. In the second incident, the person in question conked into the wall hard enough that on-site medical personnel deemed he was likely to need stitches. Here’s the first incident, per the Chronicle:
Call 1 (January 2nd, 2018) 
Dispatcher: Medical emergency, 185, what are you reporting?
Caller: This is Apple security reporting a medical injury.
Dispatcher: OK, what is the address of the emergency?
Caller: Just a moment.
Person in the background, near the caller: If you could let them know Apple Park Way.
Caller: Apple Park Way.
Dispatcher: What is the address?
Caller: Apple Park Way. 1 Apple Park Way.
Dispatcher: Can you repeat to make sure I have it correct?
Caller: 1 Apple Park Way.
Dispatcher: Where specifically should they go?
Caller: Transit center, 5A.
Dispatcher: Transit center — is that in any specific area at Apple?
Caller: It’s off of Tantau Avenue.
Caller: Is that right at 1 Apple Park Way though?
Caller: It’s going to be Gate 5A off of Tantau Avenue.
Dispatcher: So the address you gave me at 1 Apple Park Way is that exactly where we’re going?
Caller: Yes.
Dispatcher: tell me exactly what happened.
Caller: 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.
Dispatcher: Are you with the patient now?
Caller: No, I am not with the patient. We are trying to have a security unit call in right now so I connect you over.
Dispatcher: How old is the patient?
Caller: Late 20s.
Dispatcher: Is the patient male or female?
Caller: Male.
Dispatcher: Is he awake?
Caller: He is conscious.
Dispatcher: Is he breathing?
Caller: That we do not know. Yes, yes, he’s conscious and breathing.
Dispatcher: Let me go ahead here and update the paramedics. When did this happen?
Caller: It happened around five minutes ago. Around 12:05.
Dispatcher: Is there any serious bleeding?
Caller: Yes, from the head.
Dispatcher: Is he completely alert?
Caller: Yes.
Dispatcher: All right, one moment. Let me update the paramedics and I’ll have some more instructions for you.
OK, I’m sending the paramedics to help you now just stay on the line and I’ll tell you what exactly to do next. You can just refer this to your security. Do not move him unless he is in danger and do not splint any injuries. From now on, do not let him have anything to eat or drink, it might make him sick or cause further problems. And don’t move him unless it’s absolutely necessary. Tell him to be still and wait for help to arrive.
I’m going to give you the control bleeding instructions so they can help that ... so listen carefully and let’s make sure we do it right. Get clean dry cloth or towel and place it right on the wound and tell him to press down firmly and do not lift it up to look.
Caller: Press on the wound and do not look up.
Dispatcher: Correct, correct. I want someone to watch him very closely. If he becomes less awake and vomits, quickly turn him on his side. Before the responders arrive — I’m sure you have already done this — have someone flag down and help them guide the paramedics in. If he gets worse in any way, call us back immediately for further instructions.
Caller: Will do.
Dispatcher: OK, thank you.
Caller: Thank you, have a nice day.
Dispatcher: You too. Bye.
The second injury that day appeared to be somewhat more serious, with Apple security staff unsure whether the patient was fully conscious and aware, and probably in need of stitches to repair a cut over his eye:
Call 2 (January 2nd, 2018)
Dispatcher: Sheriff emergency 336. What’s the address of the emergency?
Caller: It’s going to be 1 Apple Park, Cupertino. It’s going to be a medical emergency.
Dispatcher: It’s give me one moment… Can you verify the address of the emergency please?
Caller: It’s going to be 1 Apple Park Way, Cupertino.
Dispatcher: OK and is that a business? What building is it in?
Caller: Yes, it’s going to be Apple campus.
Dispatcher: What building is it in?
Caller: It’s going to be in the main building, section (is) the transit center, just outside of the main campus.
Dispatcher: Tell me exactly what happened.
Caller: OK. So we had an employee, he was on campus and he walked into a glass window, hitting his head, has a little bit of a cut on the eyebrow.
Dispatcher: OK, are you with the patient now?
Caller: Uh, no. I’m calling from our call center. We have security on site with the patient.
Dispatcher: OK, how old is the patient?
Caller: Um, unknown.
Dispatcher: OK, is the patient male or female?
Caller: It’s going to be a male, adult.
Dispatcher: Is he awake?
Caller: Yes.
Dispatcher: Is he breathing?
Caller: Yes.
Dispatcher: Give me one moment.
Caller: Looks like he is going to be a middle-aged male.
Dispatcher: OK, and where is he bleeding from?
Caller: A cut above the eyebrow.
Dispatcher: Anywhere else?
Caller: No.
Dispatcher: Is he completely alert?
Caller: Unknown at this time. We’re still waiting for an update.
Dispatcher: OK. Is he breathing normally?
Caller: Yes, to my knowledge, yeah.
Dispatcher: Is the blood spurting or pouring out?
Caller: Um, I think it’s just leaking … a small cut.
Dispatcher: Does he have a bleeding disorder or is on blood thinners?
Caller: Not to our knowledge.
Dispatcher: Give me one moment to update them.
Person near caller, in the background: There’s a cut on the eyebrow. According to our, let’s call it, first aid certified personnel it looks like it’s going to (require) stitches.
Dispatcher: Stay on the line, I”ll tell you what to do next. For now, assure him that help is on the way. Don’t let him have anything to eat or drink. Might make him sick or cause further problems. Do you have a gate number?
Caller: It’s going to be Gate 5 on the Tantau side. Gate 5 A, 5 Adam.
Dispatcher: Do not move him unless absolutely necessary. Let him be still and let him wait for help to arrive. I’ll update them on the location. OK, thank you sir.
Caller: Thank you very much, have a good one.
The last call seems the least serious, with the patient telling dispatchers he was aware the incident was “very silly” and clarifying, “I didn’t walk through a glass door. I walked into a glass door.” The patient added he was not seriously bleeding:
Call 3 (January 4th, 2018)
Dispatcher: Emergency services 305. What’s the address of the emergency?
Caller: Hi, 1 Apple Park Way.
Dispatcher: I’m sorry you are breaking. What the address?
Caller: 1 Apple Park Way.
Dispatcher: OK. Is this a building or room number?
Caller: It’s going to be in section 9, fourth floor. You are going to go in through the Transit Center, which is Gate 5A, A as in Adam. I have Jessica on the line who is with the patient who hit his head on the glass.
Dispatcher: OK. Hello? Tell me exactly what happened.
Caller 2: Let me have the gentleman it happened to speak for himself.
Dispatcher: That’s OK. Ma’am? Hello? Hi, sir?
Patient: Hi, yes.
Dispatcher: Tell me exactly what happened.
Patient: 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.
Dispatcher: You keep breaking up. You walked through a glass door?
Patient: I didn’t walk through a glass door. I walked into a glass door.
Dispatcher: OK, one second. Did you injure your head?
Patient: I hit my head.
Dispatcher: How old are you?
Patient: 23.
Dispatcher: Hold on one second, OK. When did this happen?
Patient: About a half an hour ago.
Dispatcher: Is there any serious bleeding?
Patient: No.
Dispatcher: Just one moment. Just one second while I update the paramedics, just stay on the line. I’m sending the paramedics to help you now. I’ll tell you exactly what to do next.
Do not move unless you are in danger and do not splint any injuries, OK? Help is on the way. From now don’t have anything to eat or drink, it might make you sick or cause further problems. And don’t move around unless it is absolutely necessary. Just be still and wait for help to arrive, OK?
I’m going to give you some instructions before I let you go. Before the responders arrive, please put away any pets, gather your medication and if anything changes, call us back immediately for further instructions, OK?
Patient: OK.
Dispatcher: I’ll stay with you on the line as long as I can and if anything changes, let me know. Tell me when the paramedics arrive.
Caller 2: We’re in a locked area of the building. Do I need to meet them to escort them to this area?
Caller 1: This is Lauren, from Apple security. We have some officers on site and who will go ahead and let the EMS through. For the dispatcher, it’s through Gate 5A, as in Adam near the transit center on Tantau where you will be entering.
Dispatcher: That’s what I have … I’ll go ahead and disconnect with you … Thank you.
These are just the injuries we know about. The facility has been open to staff since April 2017, while this is just three days’ worth of 911 calls. It’s possible that this could be somewhat of a never-ending problem, as Bloomberg reported Apple discouraged employees from ad hoc solutions like marking doors with post-it notes, while its moderately high turnover rate could result in newer hires remaining aloof on the issue until that terrible second of revelation. A search of OSHA records found no applicable results.
The Apple building’s design was the result of a relentless focus on aesthetics and form that Reuters reported was driven by the Apple team’s belief that even standard features like doorway thresholds could distract engineers’ lines of thought. In other words, the company wanted the building to allow staff to move quickly and without distractions or even physical cues as they moved throughout the spaceship, which sounds great until they started bonking into invisible barriers like someone who wandered into the house from Thirteen Ghosts.
Were one to assign blame here, they might take some cues from experts in safe working environments who pay close attention to preventable hazards. According to the Chronicle’s account, Apple was given plenty of warning from local government officials.
“We did recognize that this is going to be an issue, especially when they clean the glass,” Cupertino building official Albert Salvador told the paper. “When you clean the windows, you can’t even tell some of them are there.”
He added that while visiting the Apple campus with the Santa Clara County Fire Department’s Dirk Mattern, they were discussing the issue with a contractor when another walked directly into the glass.