Tesla facing safety issues at its plant
It may seem to the rest of the world that Elon Musk is on a hot roll lately, as electric vehicles, driverless cars and even space exploration are in the news almost daily. But at the Tesla manufacturing plant in Fremont, workers may be more concerned about their safety right now, rather than getting their CEOs name in the news.
After a subcontractor’s employee working on site suffered an injury to his face and jaw, Tesla’s operations came under scrutiny by the California Division of Occupational Safety & Health (DOSH), a workplace safety watchdog division of the California Department of Industrial Relations. Following the April 9th accident and subsequent report, Tesla initially denied some of the content of the report, including claims that multiple workers at the plant complained of back strain, repetitive-stress injuries and severe headaches caused by fumes. Now DOSH has opened a second inquiry into plant safety, but has not disclosed the nature of the investigation.
No employer is above the law
The State of California takes its workplace safety regulations seriously. In a state with U.S. and national headquarters of some of the world’s most recognized corporate names, businesses are held to the highest standards, no matter what place they currently hold in the public’s hearts and minds.
A week prior to the incident, when workers’ complaints began coming out in public, CEO Elon Musk tried to deny the seriousness of the safety concerns and may have even been subtly trying to pass the buck when he wrote in a series of tweets, “ My job as CEO is to focus on what’s most critical, which is currently Model 3 production. Doug, who I regard as one of the world’s most talented engineering execs, is focused on vehicle engineering. [A second tweed added] About a year ago, I asked Doug to manage both engineering & production. He agreed that Tesla needed eng & prod better aligned, so we don’t design cars that are crazy hard to build.” It begs the question whether building cars that aren’t “crazy hard to build” didn’t come at the expense of workers’ safety at the plant.
Stand up for workplace safety
Every year, thousands of hard working men and women across California suffer serious work-related injuries and illnesses when employers ignore safety regulations and even common-sense safety precautions. Whether a work accident affects one employee or several are injured in an accident that should never have happened, workers are protected under the state’s system of workers’ compensation, as well as the legal capacity to seek additional compensation from negligent third parties who may be responsible for the accident or injures. In Tesla’s case in Fremont, it remains to be seen whether the injured subcontractor’s employee will be eligible for damages, based on whether the evidence indicates Tesla ignored safety regulations. What is clear, however, is that the law is there for a reason, and no employer is above the law