Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is under scrutiny by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) following a series of safety violations at its Fremont factory. The incident in question occurred earlier this year when an employee was seriously injured after becoming trapped in a Model Y during a quality inspection.
According to documents obtained by Bloomberg through a California Public Records Act request, Tesla failed to ensure that power was cut to a conveyor belt while workers were conducting quality inspections. As a result, in April, an employee found herself stuck in a car when its open door struck a fixed vertical gate at the Fremont plant.
Cal/OSHA proposed an $18,000 fine for what it deemed a “serious” violation, citing the failure to ensure power disconnection during the inspection. The regulator acknowledged that Tesla addressed the issue between April and October, yet still recommended the fine.
In addition, Tesla received another $18,000 fine for failing to maintain an effective injury and illness prevention program. Two separate $1,000 fines were imposed for “general” violations at the plant.
Tesla is currently contesting these citations and fines, as confirmed by the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board in Sacramento. The company, however, has not provided any comments regarding the matter.
The safety concerns come amid efforts by the United Auto Workers (UAW) to gain support among Tesla’s California workers and employees at other non-unionized factories. The UAW has historically emphasized its commitment to advocating for safer working conditions.
In response to past safety concerns, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has visited injured employees, including a high-profile incident in 2013 where three workers were injured and burned due to a press failure. Tesla has consistently defended itself by asserting that its incident rates are below the industry average.
However, in 2019, California safety agency officials claimed that the company omitted hundreds of injuries from its annual summary data sent to the government.
The recent Cal/OSHA documents do not specify the nature of the “serious” injury suffered by the trapped worker. Additionally, the report does not disclose the identity of the employee or whether she continues to work for Tesla.
Tesla’s two smaller violations leading to OSHA citations involve maintaining a clear factory floor to prevent worker tripping and the absence of written procedures to control “hazardous energy” during machinery cleaning, repairing, servicing, setting up, or adjusting.
Information for this briefing was found via Bloomberg and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.