New vehicle buyers in Missouri and around the country who purchase Tesla vehicles might rave about the carmaker, but the 15,000 people who work at the company’s huge Freemont manufacturing plant may not be as complimentary. This is because Tesla racked up more Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations between 2014 and 2018 than its 10 largest competitors combined.
Figures gathered by the business magazine and website Forbes reveal that Tesla has been cited 54 times and fined $236,730 by OSHA during the last four years. Regarding the high number of violations, the company’s CEO Elon Musk referred to California OSHA as the nation’s strictest government safety organization. According to the Forbes analysis, Ford’s Missouri assembly plant was the second most cited automobile manufacturing facility with 29 violations that led to fines totaling $29,918.
Almost half of Tesla’s violations were issued by inspectors investigating nine workplace accidents. A further 18 violations stem from seven complaints the agency received about working conditions at the Freemont facility. Tesla has struggled in recent years to ramp up production to meet the demand for its innovative vehicles, and some industry analysts say that the company has placed filling orders above ensuring that its workers remain safe.
When employers value profit over worker safety, they may face personal injury lawsuits as well as workers’ compensation claims. The workers’ compensation program was designed in part to shield employers from this kind of litigation, but exceptions are sometimes made when employers act with gross negligence. Attorneys with experience in this area might suggest filing a lawsuit when their clients were hurt in working conditions so dangerous that injury or death became inevitable, and a disproportionate number of OSHA violations could add weight to these claims.