California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) is investigating the Tesla car plant in Fremont, Calif., for failure to promptly report on-site injuries, following a report by investigative website Reveal.
Under both California and federal safety laws and regulations, companies have eight hours to report any injury involving hospitalization overnight or loss of a body part. Also at issue is a reported paint shop fire at the plant that Tesla failed to report and now claims was minor.
Tesla produces electric cars that have garnered international attention, but of late the firm has come under suspicion for a variety of reasons, including alleged financial problems. Elon Musk, the founder, even joked about bankruptcy recently.
Cal/OSHA is a state-compliant safety and health agency approved by federal OSHA. In announcing the Tesla investigation, Cal/OSHA released this statement:
Cal/OSHA takes seriously reports of workplace hazards and allegations of employers’ underreporting recordable work-related injuries and illnesses on the Log 300. Cal/OSHA currently has an open inspection at Tesla.While we do not disclose details of open inspections, Cal/OSHA’s inspections typically include a review of the employer’s Log 300, as well as a review to ensure that serious injuries are reported directly to Cal/OSHA within eight hours as required by law. Cal/OSHA’s regulations define a serious injury or illness as one that requires employee hospitalization for more than 24 hours for other than medical observation, or in which a part of the body is lost or permanent disfigurement occurs.
In response, Tesla issued a counter-statement:
The injury rate at our Fremont factory is half what it was in the final years of the UAW plant operated by GM/Toyota immediately before us, and we care deeply about the safety and well-being of our people and strive to do better every day. Cal-OSHA is required to investigate any claims that are made, regardless of whether they have merit or are baseless (as we believe these are), and we always provide our full cooperation. Last year, a Cal-OSHA investigation into our injury reporting and record-keeping was closed without any violations found and without any further action taken. In fact, unlike other automakers who in the past have been cited by OSHA for record-keeping violations, we have never in the entire history of our company received a violation for inaccurate or incomplete injury record-keeping.