A recent fire at Tesla’s production plant in Fremont, California, required a hazmat unit to extinguish, but Elon Musk’s car company claims it will not affect production.
CNBC reports that a fire broke out at Tesla’s production plant in Fremont, California, in an area where the company stores some hazardous materials. Tesla has previously handled factory fires with its internal fire brigade, but Fremont Deputy Fire Chief Amiel Thurston stated in an interview with the East Bay Times that the Fremont Fire Department and a hazardous materials unit were forced to intervene to contain the blaze.
Tesla has since stated that no employees were injured in the fire and that the incident would not affect current vehicle production. Tesla has a history of frequent fires at its “Gigafactory” production plant, including one in the factory’s paint shop in April which resulted in a temporary halt of production. An outdoor fire near a tent on the south side of the factory also took place in August.
Tesla’s latest fire comes amidst the company’s attempts to defend its workplace safety record before California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA). Tesla was recently fined by Cal-OSHA in January for violating six different worker safety regulations on its production line. Tesla plans to appeal those citations, but previous reports have described the company’s production plants as an often dangerous workplace.
Breitbart News reported in November that at Tesla, workers are expressly forbidden to call 911 in the event of a factory injury without company permission. Instead, company doctors inspect the worker’s injuries and in many cases allegedly have the worker sent to a local hospital via Lyft ridesharing. This is the experience that one employee reportedly faced when their finger was severed while working at the company.
Injured employees have reportedly often been sent back to work with no work modifications whatsoever following visits to the on-site medical center. According to former clinic employees and medical records, some of these employees could barely walk when they were ordered to return to the assembly line. Reveal News writes:
The on-site medical clinic serving some 10,000 employees at Tesla Inc.’s California assembly plant has failed to properly care for seriously hurt workers, an investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
The clinic’s practices are unsafe and unethical, five former clinic employees said.
Anna Watson, a physician assistant who worked at Tesla’s clinic for three weeks in August, commented on the facility stating: “The goal of the clinic was to keep as many patients off of the books as possible.” Watson, who has been working as a medical professional for nearly twenty years, said that she had never seen anything like what was happening at the electric-car manufacturer.
Watson, who was fired from the company after raising her concerns, stated: “The way they were implementing it was very out of control. Every company that I’ve worked at is motivated to keep things not recordable. But I’ve never seen anybody do it at the expense of treating the patient.”
Read more about the claims relating to Tesla’s treatment of employees here.