Pennsylvania investors have been impressed by Tesla’s ambitious expansion plans and production goals, but the long hours and hard work needed to meet those benchmarks is taking a heavy toll on the electric car maker’s workers according to media reports. A British newspaper revealed on May 18 that ambulances have been dispatched to the company’s California manufacturing plant on more than 100 occasions since 2014 to tend to workers who had either passed out while on the job or were displaying other signs of exhaustion or stress.
According to the report, which was based on interviews with 15 current or former Tesla workers, the company’s employees feel proud of the work they are doing. However, workers also said that dizziness, seizures and fainting spells are worryingly common. Tesla workers are not represented by a trade union, and efforts to organize have been received coolly by management.
The report comes at an inopportune time for Tesla and its founder Elon Musk. The company is ramping up production as it prepares to launch the midsize Model 3, and the pressure on assembly line workers is likely to increase as the release date draws nearer. While Musk claims that he cares deeply about the welfare of his employees, the enigmatic CEO has conceded that his workers are beginning to show the effects of working long hours.
When workers suffer fatigue-related injuries, employers concerned about a flood of similar complaints will sometimes contest their workers’ compensation claims. Employers may blame exhaustion on lifestyle choices and claim that injuries are not job-related, but attorneys with a background in workplace safety cases could anticipate these arguments and gather evidence to refute them. This evidence could include medical reports, accident records and interviews with friends and coworkers.