Is Tesla Gigafactory Providing an Unhealthy Work Environment?
Reports of workplace incidents raise questions about worker safety and conditions at Tesla’s Gigafactory in Austin, Texas, as the company prepares to deliver its groundbreaking Cybertrucks.
As Tesla gears up to deliver its highly anticipated Cybertrucks, reports have surfaced detailing concerning incidents at the Gigafactory in Austin, Texas, where the revolutionary electric trucks are being manufactured. A recent report from The Information highlights several workplace accidents, including a casting machine explosion and a robot allegedly injuring a worker.
According to data derived from Tesla’s injury reports submitted to OSHA, one out of every 21 workers at the Gigafactory in Austin was reportedly injured in 2022. The incidents include a robot-related injury in 2021, where an engineer was reportedly clawed and pinned to a wall by a shutdown robot arm. Another incident involved a worker’s ankle getting caught under a cart, resulting in 127 days of missed work, and a head injury that put another worker out for 85 days.
More recent incidents include a worker being concussed after an explosion in the metal casting area around New Year’s 2023, allegedly caused by water mixing into a molten aluminum press machine. The report suggests that Tesla may not have reported this incident to OSHA.
Tesla's NY Gigafactory has a bedbug infestation management is allegedly ignoring https://t.co/5U7DSRyGdq
— TheStreet (@TheStreet) November 21, 2023
Employees have also voiced concerns about a molding machine that allegedly spat out molten metal, and a worker who suggested a solution was reportedly reprimanded for fear of slowing production output.
In June, contractors installing metal grating for elevated walkways at the factory fell to the ground due to a lack of protective equipment, resulting in fractures and a punctured lung. OSHA inspected this incident and fined the contractors.
This report follows a history of workplace safety concerns at Tesla, with its Fremont factory in California also facing criticism for a higher-than-average injury rate. Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s opposition to employee unionization and the choice to build the Texas factory in a “right to work” state have added to the controversy.
Employees describe a work culture at the Gigafactory in Austin as “ultra hardcore,” citing long hours, unsafe conditions, and harassment.