March 20, 2019—A report by Bloomberg reveals that Tesla Inc. employees nearly tripled the amount of days off due to work-related injuries and illness in 2018. According to a submitted report by Tesla to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Tesla employees at the Fremont, Calif., plant logged a total of 22,454 days lost in 2018 compared to 2017's count of 7,619, Bloomberg reports.
Deborah Berkowitz, former OSHA chief of staff under president Barack Obama, told Bloomberg that the data was "alarming," and the increase in days away from work suggests a greater severity of injuries, Bloomberg reports.
Tesla argues against the conclusion, saying there's not a tie between days off and severity of injuries. Laurie Shelby, Tesla's vice president for environmental healthy and safety spoke to Bloomberg in a phone interview.
“The most important metric is fatalities, and our number is zero,” Shelby said. “It was a big ramp year for Model 3, so there were a lot more hours worked, more production staff and more potential for incidents. We really focused on making sure we had our safety team out in the area as we ramped.”
Two-thirds of the injuries were cumulative trauma, Shelby said. These injuries result from repetitive stress on areas including the neck, shoulders, back, wrists and hands, the publication reports.