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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tesla workers saw higher-than-average injury rates/USA Today

This, for us, was totally unexpected.  New facility, new technology--we anticipated a good experience for employees.  Why this?

Perhaps, like any new company and product, Tesla is going through a bit of a painful learning curve?  Of course they have a very inexperienced staff.  It may be their supervisors and managers lack years on an assembly line as well.

We know auto manufacturing can be very dangerous.  Lots of accidents happen.  Would you see the same out of their new facility making batteries or solar-embedded roof shingles?  Are they growing too fast?  For Tesla there is urgency in getting things fixes. Insurance co's, as you well know, hate claims.

You worry, too, if a higher accident rate could portend quality problems coming off the line as well....


Tesla saw a worker injury rate that is 31% higher than the industry average at its only electric-car manufacturing plant in 2015, and the rate only slightly dipped last year, a new study finds.

Also, more serious injuries, those that resulted in days off work, restricted duty or a transfer, was almost double the industry average in 2015, according to the report from a non-profit called Worksafe that says it is devoted to "safety, health and justice" for workers.

Worksafe says its analysis is based on Occupational Health and Safety Administration injury reports that were requested for review by workers, as required by law. Tesla officials, reached for comment, didn't dispute the analysis but said they believe the rate has dropped significantly in the first three months of this year
"We see people getting injured at the plant in the plant on a regular basis -- people who do the same sorts of jobs that we do," the report quotes worker Jonathan Galescu, who obtained the injury logs, as saying.

Tesla, an auto industry upstart that has been making luxury electric cars for less than decade, has been the subject of a drive to unionize many of the more than 10,000 workers at the plant. It also comes as the plant is dramatically boosting production and employment to start production of its first mass-market car, the Model 3.

The report says Tesla has had an overall rate of 8.8 injuries per 100 workers in 2015, with 6.7 being the average for the auto industry. The rate of more serious injuries was 7.9, compared to 3.9 for the industry that year.

In 2016, Tesla's overall injury rate improved slightly to 8.1, but the company says it was dramatically better in the first quarter of the year -- 4.6 -- a figure that isn't included in the report.

"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," the Tesla statement said. "Our goal is to have as close to zero injuries as humanly possible and to become the safest factory in the auto industry."

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