Wed, 17 Oct 2018
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Tesla probed by California regulator for work conditions

By Sheetal Sukhija, St Louis News
19 Apr 2018, 21:51 GMT+10

CALIFORNIA, U.S. - Following a report about worker protections at the company’s lone auto plant in Fremont, California, the regulator in the statement has opened an investigation into Tesla on workplace conditions.

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health said that it has opened an investigation into Tesla over a report about worker protections at the company’s lone auto plant in Fremont, California.

Erika Monterroza, a spokeswoman for the state’s industrial relations department said that the state agency “takes seriously reports of workplace hazards and allegations of employers’ underreporting recordable work-related injuries and illnesses” and “currently has an open inspection at Tesla.”

As per laws in California, employers are required to maintain what are called Log 300 records of injuries and illnesses.

According to Monterroza, while the state doesn’t disclose details of open inspections, they typically include a review of employers’ Log 300 records and checks to ensure that serious injuries are reported within eight hours as required by law.

Earlier this week, the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal alleged that Tesla had failed to report serious injuries on legally mandated reports, making its numbers appear better than they actually were. 

Further, in its expose, the website cited former members of Tesla’s environment, health and safety team saying that Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk’s personal preferences were often invoked as reason not to address potential hazards.

On Monday, Tesla pushed back against the story in a lengthy blog post and called it “an ideologically motivated attack by an extremist organization working directly with union supporters to create a calculated disinformation campaign against Tesla.” 

For over a year, the United Auto Workers union has been trying to organize Fremont workers.

In an emailed statement released on Wednesday, Tesla responded to news of California’s investigation, saying that the injury rate at Fremont was lower than when Toyota Motor Corp. and then-General Motors Corp. operated the factory with UAW-represented workers.

The company stated, “We care deeply about the safety and well-being of our people and strive to do better every day.”

Late on Tuesday, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, known as CAL/OSHA, opened its inspection and investigations can be triggered by a number of reasons, including internal complaints from employees. 

However, the agency has declined to comment on what triggered its latest probe, which could take as long as six months to complete.

Tesla said in its statement, “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.” 

According to the carmaker, the agency investigated the company’s injury reporting and record-keeping last year and closed it without finding any violations or taking further action.

The company added, “We have never in the entire history of our company received a violation for inaccurate or incomplete injury record-keeping.”

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