Tesla being investigation over workplace conditions

Tesla being investigation over workplace conditions

A story this week by the Center for Investigative Reporting's Reveal alleged that Tesla failed to report serious injuries on legally mandated reports to make its numbers appear better than they actually were.

Erika Monterroza, a spokeswoman for the state's industrial relations department said that the state agency "takes seriously reports of workplace hazards and allegations of employers' underreporting recordable work-related injuries and illnesses" and "currently has an open inspection at Tesla". "Cal/OSHA's regulations define a serious injury or illness as one that requires employee hospitalization for more than 24 hours for other than medical observation, or in which a part of the body is lost or permanent disfigurement occurs".

Tesla, an American Electric vehicle manufacturer, temporarily stopped its Model 3 production at its Fremont assembly plant in California to resolve the delay issues and claims that the suspension will not impact the current production issue.

Tesla said in its statement, "Cal-OSHA is required to investigate any claims that are made, regardless of whether they have merit or are baseless (as we believe these are), and we always provide our full cooperation". Their assessment reflects a lack of understanding about how injury reporting works.

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The news comes a day after Tesla temporarily suspended its Model 3 assembly line in what the company said was a planned pause, its second since February, to improve automation and address bottlenecks that have delayed production. The United Auto Workers union has been trying to organize Fremont workers for more than a year. "Any that fail to meet the Tesla standard of excellence will have their contracts ended on Monday", Musk wrote.

Tesla is aiming to ramp up production to 6,000 Model 3 cars per week by the end of June to reach its weekly goal of 5,000 and allow for a margin of error.

The injury rate at the Fremont factory, which it took over from General Motors and Toyota Motor, is reportedly half what it was in its final years under the previous owners.

Follow USA TODAY technology writer Marco della Cava on Twitter.

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