Tesla’s new in-house clinic may have helped the company avoid reporting some injuries: Report

Cars on Tesla’s assembly line. Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider
  • Tesla is intentionally not reporting some workplace injuries, and transporting hurt employees in personal cars instead of ambulances, a report from Reveal said Monday.
  • A physicians assistant told the publication that she was fired after raising safety concerns.
  • In an interview, the owner of Tesla’s new medical vendor said that the changes were part of getting “more accurate diagnoses” and a focus on easing worker’s loads, rather than prescribing days off.
  • Tesla declined to comment.

Tesla is sending workers with severe injuries to the emergency room in the back of Lyft’s and other personal cars, not ambulances, a new report from Reveal said Monday. The publication, by the Center for Investigative Research, says examples like that are part of the company’s efforts to avoid logging workplace injuries that would be otherwise reported to state regulators.

Among the workplace injuries in the report is a Tesla employee whose severed the top of his finger off at the company’s factory. Supervisors opted to put the worker in their own personal vehicle – instead of a ride-hail car or ambulance – to get them to the hospital.

(Read More:California regulators open another investigation into Tesla’s factory after getting a report that an employee had part of a finger amputated during a workplace accident)

According to Dr. Basil Besh, the owner of Access Omnicare, the company that took over Tesla’s in-house medical services in June, the incidents mentioned aren’t part of a cover-up scheme by the company. Rather, his doctors and nurses are simply providing “more accurate diagnoses,” he told Business Insider in an interview Monday.

“Our model is different,” Dr. Besh, whose usual clients at Access are athletes, said. “You have folks that have become accustomed to going to the clinic with any complaint at all and getting taken off of work. What we’d like to do is support you and treat you, but keep you active. People who come to my clinic don’t like being inactive, and we treat Tesla employees the same way.”

Bash said workers generally receive reduced workloads or alternative assignments when they are injured and can’t perform their usual tasks. “The key is to have accurate diagnoses,” he said. “Some patients come in with magnified symptoms, and we have to go by the objective findings.”

Tesla declined to comment to Business Insider about the Reveal article.

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An investigation by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health earlier this year resulted in a $US400 fine for failing to enter the required forms about a workplace injury “within seven calendar days of having received information that the injury occurred.”

The company has owned up to those mistakes, and says its working to get better on both reporting injuries and avoiding them in the first place.

“There is still a lot more to be done in order to become the safest company in the world,” Laurie Shelby, Tesla’s vice president of health and safety, said in a blog post last month, “but I am proud of how far we’ve come over the past 12 months.

Read the full Reveal article here>>