Regina Elsea, 20, and her coworkers at the Korean-owned Anjin USA auto-parts plant in Cusseta, Ala., were falling behind their quota of car dashboards when she decided to take matters in her own hands and clear a stalled robot. The machine surged back to life, crushing and impaling her.

Cordney Crutcher lost a finger at the Matsu Alabama plant. "I saw my meat sticking out of the bottom of my glove."

Nathaniel Walker worked at a German-owned plant in Pell City, Ala., where there were no handrails to prevent his plunge into a vat of acid.

And Reco Allen was a janitor who was ordered to man a stamping press. It pinned him for an hour, leaving his left hand "flat as a pancake," his right hand severed.

Alabama has been trying on the nickname "New Detroit," writes Bloomberg Businessweek's Peter Waldman. The auto-parts industry is booming there, and in Georgia and Mississippi. But Occupational Safety and Health Administration records document a litany of horrors that reads like Upton Sinclair or Charles Dickens, in an industry where the focus "is production at all costs" and a region where the rates of injury are higher than in northern states. Here's a link to Waldman's report.

Related video:

Share This Photo X