Tesla’s 5.3 million-square foot plant in Fremont California is a state-of-the-art facility which has over 15,000 full-time workers and contract workers that assemble 254,000 vehicles. While having the most employees of any American facility and the latest innovation, the plant also has the age-old problem of safety violations and workplace accidents.
This plant has been the subject of more workplace safety investigations and received more fines than other U.S. automobile plants in the last five years. There were 24 investigations by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration from 2014 to 2015 which led to fines for 54 violations, according to Forbes Magazine. These include new penalties that have not been listed in the national Occupational Safety and Health Administration database and which almost double Tesla’s fines over the last five years to $236,730.
One of its largest fines was imposed after a worker’s glove was caught in a torque gun. A state safety regulator said that the worker’s finger was severed. Tesla contested most of the Cal/OSHA fines. Another $26,075 state fine was recently imposed after a contract worker suffered a fractured pelvic bone from being hit by a forklift in the recycling area.
In August 2018, a rear hatch door dropped on an employee’s back when he was caulking a truck. He later claimed that the company’s contracted medical clinic did not provide adequate medical care. Six fines totaling $29,635 were imposed for violations in a structure housing an additional assembly line erected last summer.
The violations and fines at this plant were greater than the total for 10 major automobile plants in this country which together employ 58,000 workers. They had 18 OSHA violations and less than $90,000 in fines over the past five years.
Tesla brought in a new executive and a 60-person safety team to monitor its three assembly lines. Managers must report every safety issue and employees are encouraged to identify possible hazards. New hires now receive safety training.
Workers suffering a workplace injury may be entitled to compensation. An attorney can help gather evidence and pursue a lawsuit or workers’ compensation claim.