Tesla fires back after a scathing report alleges the company underreported injuries

TeslaThe Fremont, California, factory where Tesla produces its vehicles.

  • A new report from Reveal claims that Tesla has underreported workplace injuries and claims the Fremont factory is less safe than the company has said.
  • The report also claims that Tesla has avoided using some warning signs and markings for aesthetic reasons and failed to properly train employees for dangerous work.
  • On Monday, Tesla responded to the report in a blog post, calling it “a completely false picture of Tesla and what it is actually like to work here.”

In February, Tesla highlighted its efforts to improve worker safety at the Fremont, California, factory where it builds its vehicles. Laurie Shelby – Tesla’s vice president of environmental, health, and safety – wrote that the company’s total recordable incident rate (TRIR), had fallen 25% since 2016 and was aligned with the industry average. Shelby also outlined the steps the company had taken in an effort to better manage and prevent workplace injuries.

But a new report from Reveal alleges that the company has underreported workplace injuries at the Fremont factory and that working conditions at the facility are not as safe as Tesla has claimed. Reveal reportedly spoke with over three dozen current and former Tesla employees and reviewed hundreds of pages of documents, including internal records and correspondence related to injury reporting.

Here’s an overview of the report’s claims. You can read the full report on Reveal here.

  • Tesla reportedly misreported injury rates at its Fremont factory, either failing to report injuries employees incurred while at work or mislabeling them as personal or minor injuries so they didn’t count against the company’s public workplace injury statistics.
  • Tesla didn’t mark some hazard areas at Fremont in yellow because Musk reportedly doesn’t like the colour and avoided other safety signs and markings for aesthetic reasons, the report claims.
  • The rate of serious injuries, which means they require employees to miss work or work with restrictions, among Tesla employees was reportedly 30% worse than the industry average in 2017.
  • Some Fremont employees received insufficient training for dangerous work, the report claims.
  • At least one employee warned superiors – including Elon Musk’s office – about potential safety hazards, but those warnings were reportedly either ignored or not addressed.

On Monday, Tesla responded to the report in a blog post, calling it “a completely false picture of Tesla and what it is actually like to work here,” and claimed it was “an ideologically motivated attack by an extremist organisation working directly with union supporters to create a calculated disinformation campaign against Tesla.”

The post denied that Tesla didn’t accurately track or report injuries, has avoided using the colour yellow in the Fremont factory, hasn’t improved safety at Fremont, and hasn’t given employees proper training.

“This is not to say that there aren’t real issues that need to be dealt with at Tesla or that we’ve made no mistakes with any of the 37,000 people who work at our company,” Tesla said. “However, there should be absolutely no question that we care deeply about the well-being of our employees and that we try our absolute hardest to do the right thing and to fail less often. With each passing month, we improve safety further and will keep doing so until we have the safest factory in the world by far. We welcome any suggestions that might help achieve that goal.”

You can read Tesla’s full response here.

Business Insider spoke to Tesla employees in 2017 about working conditions at the Fremont factory. You can read our report here.

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