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Tesla aims at reducing worker injuries across all its sites

Tesla believes that it can enhance safety in its operations engagement, education, innovation and continual improvement. The company is not only focussing on reducing overall rate of injury, but also on how to prevent individual injuries before they happen.

The EV maker aims to become the world’s safest company by continuously integrating safety into the way it works and the products it builds, which is why it relies on each of its employees, dedicated leaders and Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) professionals and service providers to promote a culture of safety. While there is always more work to be done, Tesla had one of its safest years yet at the Fremont factory.

As Tesla produced significantly more vehicles, its injury rates went down. Compared to 2018, the rate of injury per vehicle produced was reduced by more than 50% from last year. The injury rate continues to be below the industry average. The Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR) at the Fremont factory improved compared to 2018 and is 5% better than the industry average for large manufacturers according the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Associates at the site spent less time away from work due to injury or illness. The company’s Days Away and Restricted Time (DART) rate improved 12% compared to 2018 and is at the industry average for large manufacturers. A review from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) of the last five years of Tesla’s injury and illness records illustrated a 99% accuracy in the safety record keeping, critical data that helps identify risk and continuously improve. Cal/OSHA’s findings, along with our external audits of the process and certified OSHA record keeping incident management team, illustrated the ongoing rigor of Tesla’s injury reporting.

In 2019, Tesla added hundreds of sales, service, and delivery locations as well as Supercharger stations around the world. Additionally, the new Shanghai factory is now producing Model 3, and soon Model Y. As Tesla grows, its EHS team members are on the production floor, in warehouses, in the field, and even on roofs.

The employee safety engagement programme, which expanded to manufacturing sites globally, encourages employees to think and talk about safety every day. The programme leverages the brainpower of employees, from production associates to engineers, to continuously improve processes and ensure the company’s safety culture is the best in the world.

Tesla expanded our EHS technician programme, which includes production associates, to help keep the company connected with how work is performed at the line level not how it is imagined by someone who does not perform the work. It expanded the early symptom intervention programme to Gigafactory Nevada, using professional athletic trainers to educate employees on proper ergonomics and identify risk for injuries on the factory lines before they occur.

Last year, Tesla hosted the Transplant Automotive Safety Forum (TASF) with over 100 safety professionals from Subaru, DTNA, Nissan, Volkswagen, KIA Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and BMW. The companies shared best practices and collaborated on topics that regularly impact all automotive companies.

Tesla is taking the first steps to join OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) at its facilities in Lathrop and Fremont, California, Nevada, New York, Michigan and Minnesota. Through a comprehensive onsite evaluation, the voluntary programme recognises businesses that are implementing effective safety and health management programmes.

EHS is engaged with engineering so Tesla’s products are more ergonomically friendly to build and install. Design principles and standards have been established between ergonomics, production and engineering so safety is built into the design process from the initial stages. The ergonomics team continues to explore the effectiveness of new technologies to improve safety, including exoskeletons and sensors to support healthy posture and movements. This work, along with that of the athletic trainers, is critical given that a majority of injuries are musculoskeletal in nature.

Tesla is expanding its principles of caring for employees to go beyond what traditional automakers offer to create a more holistic focus on well-being, including mental and physical health. It has expanded its contractor safety evaluation programme more globally to align standard safety practices across all sites and it is adding and improving on-site medical clinics at the Fremont factory, Gigafactory Nevada and Gigafactory Shanghai.

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