Working conditions and safety has become a concern at Tesla’s Fremont factory after a report released by Worksafe reveals a higher injury rate than the automotive industry’s average.
The detailed report is based on Tesla’s annual injury logs which by law all companies are required to maintain.
The report reveals three key findings:
Tesla’s total recordable incidenct rate (TRIR) in 2015 was 31 percent higher than the industry average.
- Approximately 8.8 injuries per 100 workers were reported at Tesla compared to 6.7 injuries for the auto manufacturing industry as a whole in 2015.
The total injury rate for 2016 was 8.1 injuries per 100 workers.
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has yet to calculate the industry average for 2016, but despite the lack of comparison, Worksafe says the number of injuries is still higher the industry’s norm.
Tesla has almost double the average of serious injuries for 2015.
- By using a measurement known as the DART rate, Worksafe was able to compare Tesla’s DART rate in 2015 – 7.9 – to the industry average – 3.9. The DART rate for Tesla in 2016 was 7.3 and Worksafe expects the rate to be higher than the industry average.
The report is urging Tesla to be more attentive to safety precautions in the workplace and argues that factory workers need to have a greater involvement in how the plant is run.
Despite the reported findings, Tesla has said that their safety record is “much better than the industry average.”
In a statement released by Tesla, the auto company addressed that incidents have reduced within the first quarter of 2017, “The factory’s total recordable incident rate (TRIR) is 4.6, which is 32% better than the industry average of 6.7.”
According to Tesla’s data, this is a dramatic improvement in employee safety in comparison to previous years.
“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,” said a Tesla spokesperson. “Our goal is to have as close to zero injuries as humanly possible and to become the safest factory in the auto industry.”
The auto company also revealed that it has been making various efforts in hopes of improving working conditions like establishing health and safety management procedures, implementing a Safety Team to each department, reducing the number of hours each team member works and more.
Despite the various changes, many Tesla factory workers have become aware of the potential safety hazards and are now pushing to unionize the Fremont factory.