A Tesla Gigafactory worker got part of his finger cut off. The company reportedly failed to tell regulators about it.

TeslaTesla’s Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada.
  • Tesla‘s Nevada Gigafactory, where the company makes battery packs and drivetrains, received far more visits from OSHA, which regulates workplace conditions, than neaby factories during the three years after it opened in 2016, USA Today’s Anjeanette Damon reported.
  • A visit from OSHA does not necessarily mean a company has done something wrong, but the magnitude of the difference in inspections suggests at least a higher level of safety concerns from Gigafactory employees.
  • USA Today described a 2017 injury that resulted in a contractor losing part of his right index finger after a rack designed to hold vehicle batteries was dropped on it, but the publication said the injury was not reported to OSHA.
  • Tesla told USA Today that the injury rate at the Gigafactory is lower than those of other factories, but did not give the publication data to back up that claim.
  • USA Today’s story follows a 2018 series from Reveal that described issues with workplace safety and injury reporting at Tesla’s vehicle-assembly plant in California.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Tesla’s Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, has created far more work for the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which regulates workplace conditions, than nearby factories, USA Today’s Anjeanette Damon reported.

Inspectors from Nevada’s OSHA office reportedly went to the Gigafactory, where Tesla makes battery packs and drivetrains for its vehicles, over 90 times during the three years after it opened in 2016, while nearby factories averaged just one visit from an OSHA inspector during that period.

A visit from OSHA does not necessarily mean a company has done something wrong, and USA Today didn’t compare the $US26,900 in OSHA fines related to safety violations at the Gigafactory that Tesla has received since 2017 to fines received by other factories. (USA Today noted that nearly all of Tesla’s Gigafactory fines were reduced or eliminated.) But the magnitude of the difference in inspections suggests at least a higher level of safety concerns from Gigafactory employees.

There was an average of over one 911 call from the factory per day in 2018, according to USA Today’s report. The calls were motivated by medical issues and incidents like fights, DUIs, and thefts.

Tesla reportedly failed to tell regulators about a serious injury

Of the four fines related to the Gigafactory that Tesla has reportedly received since 2017, three resulted from incidents that led to worker amputations. USA Today described a 2017 injury that resulted in a contractor losing part of his right index finger after a rack designed to hold vehicle batteries was dropped on it, but the publication said the injury was not reported to OSHA. USA Today noted that both Nevada and federal law require companies to report injuries that involve amputations or require hospitalisation.

Tesla did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. The company told USA Today that the injury rate at the Gigafactory is lower than those of other factories, but did not give the publication data to back up that claim. The electric-car maker called the parts of USA Today’s report that focus on safety issues at the Gigafactory “unfair and misleading,”

“Tesla, our suppliers, and our contractors make up over 10,000 people on-site – the size of a small city,” the company told USA Today. “To report that both personal and work-related medical emergencies over the course of four years make Tesla an outlier is unfair and misleading.”

USA Today’s report echoes a series of 2018 reports from Reveal focused on Tesla’s vehicle-assembly plant in California. According to Reveal, Tesla misreported workplace injuries, avoided using safety markings for aesthetic reasons, and failed to give injured employees proper medical care. Tesla has denied that it has misreported workplace injuries and failed to use safety markings for aesthetic reasons. The automaker did not respond to requests for comment on the allegation that it failed to give injured employees proper medical treatment.

Read USA Today’s full story here.

Are you a current or former Tesla employee? Do you have an opinion about what it’s like to work there? Contact this reporter at [email protected]. You can ask for more secure methods of communication, like Signal or ProtonMail, by email or Twitter direct message.

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