Tesla's injury rates 'are double' the industry average

Report slams Tesla's factory working conditions

Tesla electric cars

Injury rates at Tesla's flagship manufacturing plant were 31% higher than the industry average during 2014 and 2015, according to a new report.

Findings published on Wednesday by California-based advocacy group Worksafe revealed that 8.8 non-lethal injuries per 100 workers occurred during those two years at Tesla's Fremont facility, compared to the 6.7 average across the rest of the automotive sector.

The report, which compared Tesla's numbers with data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that in 2016 there were 8.1 injuries per 100 workers at the factory, and while average industry figures aren't yet available for the period, Worksafe predicted that this will similarly exceed the industry-wide rate.

The rates of serious injuries, those resulting in days away from work, were double the average industry rate in 2015, which is once again expected to be as high in 2016.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk did not dispute reports that injury rates were above the norm during an interview with Business Insider, but said the numbers have dropped since then.

However, this is not the first time Tesla has been criticised for its dangerous working conditions. Tesla factory worker Jose Moran published a blog in February, which described high numbers of injuries, long hours, which often included mandatory overtime, and a shortage of manpower.

"I believe Tesla is one of the most innovative companies in the world," wrote Moran. "Unfortunately, however, I often feel like I am working for a company of the future under working conditions of the past."

"A few months ago, six out of eight people in my work team were out on medical leave at the same time due to various work-related injuries. Worst of all, I hear coworkers quietly say that they are hurting but they are too afraid to report it for fear of being labeled as a complainer or bad worker by management," Moran added at the time.

IT Pro has contacted Tesla for comment. It has previously addressed concerns by claiming that it had made changes to improve its factory conditions, such as improving machinery to be more ergonomic and reducing the overall number of hours each employee works.

These changes have resuted in a 52% reduction in incident rates in the first quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 period, according to Tesla. Worksafe has said it is impossible to validate whether these claims are true, or what effect any changes have had on overall injury rates.

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"Sufficiently reliable data are not available to make this evaluation, nor do we have access to the number of employee hours worked in 2017, which would be necessary to determine injury rates for this year," wrote Worksafe.

Picture: Bigstock

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