For the California automaker that is leading the way in cars of the future, challenges are nothing new. But ongoing injury rates that far exceed industry averages are a throwback to the past. Workplace injuries occur in all employment sectors – accidents do happen after all – but Tesla’s worker injury rate has consistently been significantly higher than the industry average.
In 2015, Tesla’s injury rate was 31% higher than other United States automakers, with an average of 8.8 injuries per 100 workers. The industry average is 6.7 per 100 workers. These high numbers have led some workers at Tesla to look into becoming unionized with the United Auto Workers Union in an attempt to lower the high rates of injuries.
The forward-looking auto maker is gearing up to increase production over the next year, hoping to produce 500,000 cars in 2018 and to double that production to over 1 million in 2019. Tesla produced less than 70,000 cars in 2016 and is on pace to produce approximately 100,000 in 2017.
The push to increase production has not come without a cost to the workers at Tesla. The most recent injury occurred when there was an electrical explosion at a California facility. The California Occupational Safety and Health Agency has opened an investigation against the construction company who employed the worker, Mark III Construction. Despite numerous injuries at the Tesla plant itself, there is not an investigation against Tesla at this time.
While Tesla acknowledges that there have been problems in the past with worker injuries, it disputes the currently reported number of injuries at its plant. Tesla reportedly states that its injury rates are now significantly lower than industry average due to improved safety procedures. Some of these improved procedures include implementing health and safety management measures, implementing a safety team in each department, and reducing the number of hours for workers.
Whether Tesla can keep its promise to promote safety and also meet its production goals is yet to be seen. So too is whether the injury rate at their Fremont plant has dropped to the levels that it claims.
Work place injuries happen frequently, and sometimes liability goes beyond normal Workers’ Compensation. If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury because of the negligence of an employer, the San Francisco attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP are here to help. You can reach one of our San Francisco personal injury attorneys at 888.777.1776, or you can contact us online.