According to a recent Tesla blog post, the rate of worker injuries at the Fremont plant has dropped significantly.
Laurie Shelby, Vice President of Tesla’s environmental, health and safety division, said that the number of injuries per vehicle produced at the factory had decreased by more than 50 percent in 2019, compared to 2018.
According to Shelby, the factory has shown improvement in some other indicators that are also regularly used to measure workplace safety.
The total recordable injury rate, which considers injuries in terms of total hours worked by all employees, is now five percent better than the industry average.
Improving production safety is always a good thing, but these statistics are especially important for Tesla. In 2018, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) launched an official investigation into the Fremont factory a few days after investigative outlet Reveal published a report detailing gruesome industrial injuries. It was reported that some workers were «sliced by machinery, crushed by forklifts, burned in electrical explosions, and sprayed with molten metal.»
Tesla denied Reveal’s findings in a detailed blog post published the same day as the report. In particular, the company said: «In our view, what they portray as investigative journalism is in fact an ideologically motivated attack by an extremist organization working directly with union supporters to create a calculated disinformation campaign against Tesla.»
The harsh criticism did not prevent Reveal from publishing another report on the company’s labor issues in April 2019, which claimed that doctors at the Fremont factory’s health clinic were downplaying workers’ injuries to free the company from the burden of paying compensation to workers.
If it is true, it could mean that the lower injury rate Tesla reported in 2019 was the result of fudging the paperwork.
However, according to a new post by Shelby, Cal/OSHA checked the last five years of the factory’s injury and illness records and found a «99 percent accuracy in safety record keeping.»