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Tesla Inaccurately Reported How Many Injuries Occurred in Its Factory

Posted By Arnold & Itkin || 16-May-2018

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 work injuries.

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 medical issues."

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.

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