California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health said it has opened a new investigation into Tesla Inc. following a report about worker protections at the company’s lone auto plant in Fremont, Calif.
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,” said Erika Monterroza, a spokeswoman for the state’s industrial relations department.
California requires employers to electronically submit what it calls Log 300 records of injuries and illnesses. Monterroza said that 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.
A story this week by the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal alleged that Tesla failed to report serious injuries on legally mandated reports to make its numbers appear better than they actually were. The website cited former members of Tesla’s environment, health and safety team saying CEO Elon Musk’s personal preferences were often invoked as reason not to address potential hazards.
Tesla pushed back against the story in a lengthy blog post on April 26, calling it “an ideologically motivated attack by an extremist organization working directly with union supporters to create a calculated disinformation campaign against Tesla.”
The United Auto Workers union has been trying to organize Fremont workers for more than a year.
A Tesla spokesman didn’t immediately comment.
By Dana Hull and Josh Eidelson