In a report from The Center for Investigative Reporting, reporters revealed
that Elon Musk's electric car factory has been leaving injuries unreported
in order to drive down its injury rate.
In 2015 and 2016, Tesla was chastised for having an injury rate well above
the industry average. Its 2017 numbers showed that it had dropped to the
auto industry standard—but only because it illegally left injuries
off the books. Federal law demands that companies annually report all
One of the injured workers, a young man who accidentally inhaled toxic
fumes while working, was in serious pain for weeks. However, his injury
was never reported. Back injuries and repetitive stress injuries were
also left off the injury logs. All of them were categorized under "personal
Putting Production Ahead of Safety
Five ex-members of Tesla's environment, health, and safety team claim
that Tesla is putting manufacturing ahead of its workforce's safety.
One of the former members (who all quit last year) said she warned higher-ups
about explosion hazards, but nothing was done about it because it would
require stopping production.
Elon Musk allegedly hates common safety precautions, including:
- The color yellow
- Warning signage
- Warning beeps when forklifts back up
- Safety shoes
"It's just a matter of time before somebody gets killed,"
she said. Last year, Tesla averaged 2 injured a day—a full 30 percent
more than the prior year's industry average. Meanwhile, people feared
Elon Musk's wrath, which is why few stood up for worker safety.
As industrial injury lawyers, we have spent our careers fighting against
this very attitude: the prioritization of profit and production over human
lives. We hope Tesla one day legitimately reaches an injury rate well
below the average, no matter how much yellow paint it requires.