Tesla is vehemently disputing an investigative report from Reveal which claims that the electric car company does not place a premium on worker safety inside of its Fremont factory in California. Among a slew of allegations, the report claims that work on the factory floor is a chaotic mess and that Tesla prioritizes speed over safety.
Though reported injuries at Tesla have dropped significantly over the past few months, Reveal argues that Tesla is simply opting not to report some of the significant injuries that occur on the factory floor. In short, the report claims that improved worker safety at Tesla is nothing more than a well-crafted illusion.
One representative excerpt from the report reads as follows:
Undercounting injuries is one symptom of a more fundamental problem at Tesla: The company has put its manufacturing of electric cars above safety concerns, according to five former members of its environment, health and safety team who left the company last year. That, they said, has put workers unnecessarily in harm’s way.
At one point, White said she warned superiors about a potential explosion hazard but was told they would defer to production managers because fixing the problem would require stopping the production line.
In response to the allegations levied by Reveal, Tesla today published an extensive rebuttal claiming that the alleged expose is essentially “an ideologically motivated attack by an extremist organization working directly with union supporters to create a calculated disinformation campaign against Tesla.”
Tesla’s rebuttal reads in part:
The report suggests Tesla doesn’t accurately track injuries or that we mislabeled or undercounted injuries to make our record look better than it actually is. We believe in transparency and would never intentionally misrepresent our safety record to our employees or the public. Reveal showed us a number of cases where they claimed injuries should have been documented as work-related rather than personal. In fact, we have reviewed and confirmed that the recorded injuries Reveal disputed to us were properly recorded by Tesla. Their assessment reflects a lack of understanding about how injury reporting works. During the process of determining if an injury is work-related or personal, all employers rely heavily on evaluations made by third-party medical professionals who talk at length with employees, and review their personal medical histories and the specific facts and circumstances of each individual case.
Also of note is the claim that Reveal reporters have been essentially harassing Tesla employees in an effort to flesh out details for their report:
Reveal’s reporters have spent several months searching for old, misrepresentative and outright inaccurate information about safety at Tesla’s Fremont factory. Since last fall, employees have complained to us that they’ve felt harassed by these reporters after being tracked down on social media, getting unexpected phone calls without knowing how their cell numbers were obtained, and even being visited in Tesla’s parking lot and at their homes unannounced.
Tesla’s full rebuttal, which is well worth a read if you happen to be questioning the company’s commitment to safety, can be viewed over here.