Worker Safety Group Says Tesla Plant Injuries Higher Than Industry Average

A worker safety advocacy group says that injuries at Tesla’s Fremont, Calif.-based plant are much higher than the industry average.

The findings by Worksafe looked at the years 2014 and 2015, with a preliminary study of 2016 data finding injury reports to be on a similar track. The advocacy group studied reports filed the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Comparison to 2016 data is an estimate, as official industry-wide data won’t isn’t yet available.

Tesla has been under mounting pressure over unionizing its Fremont plant. That coincides with the facility being expanded to prepare for the 500,000 vehicles manufactured per year mark after the Model 3 launch later this year.

In the report, Worksafe found injury rates 31 percent higher at Tesla that the U.S. average in 2015, with an incidence rate of 8.8 per 100 workers versus 6.7 per 100 as the industry average. Preliminary findings for 2016 are at 8.1 injuries per worker.

The days away, restricted duty (DART rate) at the Fremont plant was double the industry rate in 2015, according to the report.

Worker safety has been previously raised as a pressing issue. Earlier this month, Tesla posted on its blog that it has seen improvements to its safety record, and warnings over worker safety there has been part of the United Auto Worker’s campaign to unionize workers.

Tesla said the same about the Worksafe study findings.

“We may have had some challenges in the past as we were learning how to become a car company, but what matters is the future and with the changes we’ve made, we now have the lowest injury rate in the industry by far,” a Tesla spokesman said in an emailed statement.

“Our goal is to have as close to zero injuries as humanly possible and to become the safest factory in the auto industry.”

SEE ALSO:  Tesla Proposes Doubling Fremont Plant to Meet Capacity

The Fremont plant will soon become much larger and more labor intensive to increase production to 500,000 Tesla vehicles a year.

In December, the company received approval from the city of Fremont to nearly double the size of the plant. About 4.6 million square feet will be added and will be spread across 11 new buildings.

The city expects the new manufacturing space will eventually an additional 3,100 workers to Tesla’s payroll at the factory.

The UAW would love to see them all become union members.

The Verge


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