Tesla believes that safety is achieved through engagement, education, innovation and continuous improvement. Here the company focuses not only on the general level of injuries, but also on how to prevent individual injuries before they occur.
Tesla's goal is to become the safest company in the world, so it promotes a culture of safety. In the past, the company, like any young manufacturer, had some problems with safety. But over time, many factors were taken into account and a large amount of work was done in order to change the situation for the better.
Tesla has spent one of the safest year at their Fremont plant, Laurie Shelby, VP Environmental, Health & Safety at Tesla is proud to announce the following improvements since 2019:
- As the company produced significantly more cars, injuries declined. Compared to 2018, the level of injuries per one car produced has decreased by more than 50%.
- The level of injuries at the plant continues to be below the industry average. The Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR) at Fremont factory improved compared to 2018 and is 5% better than the industry average for large manufacturers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Associates spent less time away from work due to injury or illness. Tesla's Days Away and Restricted Time (DART) rate improved 12% compared to 2018 and is at the industry average for large manufacturers.
- A California Health and Safety Department (Cal/OSHA) survey over the past five years of Tesla's injuries and illness records showed 99% accuracy of their safety records, critical data that helps them identify risk and continually improve. Cal/OSHA findings, as well as Tesla’s external audits of their process and their OSHA Certified Incident Management Team, illustrate the company's ongoing rigorous reporting of injuries.
In 2019, Tesla added hundreds of points of sale, service and delivery, as well as Supercharger stations around the world. In addition, their new Shanghai plant is currently producing Model 3, and soon Model Y. As Tesla grows, EHS team members are located at production sites, warehouses, in the field, and even on roofs.
Tesla has created an employee safety program that they constantly expand and encourage them to think and talk about security every day. The program harnesses the intellectual potential of employees — from manufacturing partners to engineers — to continually improve processes and ensure that Tesla's safety culture is the best in the world.
The company expanded its EHS technician program, which includes their production associates, to help keep them connected with how work is performed at the line level not how it is imagined by someone who does not perform the work.
Tesla also expanded their early intervention program at Gigafactory Nevada, using their professional athletic trainers to train employees on ergonomics and determine the risk of injury on production 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. They shared best practices and collaborated on topics that regularly impact all automotive companies.
Tesla is taking its first steps to join the OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) at its facilities in Lathrop and Fremont, California, Nevada, New York, Michigan and Minnesota. Through a comprehensive on-site assessment, the voluntary program identifies enterprises that implement effective safety and health management programs. Tesla is pleased to welcome OSHA to these institutions and collaborate with them for continuous improvement, Shelby says.
Tesla believes that technology can help improve safety in their cars and in the workplace. EHS is engaged in design, so the company's products are more ergonomic for assembly and installation. 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 study the effectiveness of new technologies to improve safety, including exoskeletons and sensors to maintain healthy posture and movements. This work, along with the company's athletic trainers, is crucial given that most injuries are musculoskeletal in nature.
In 2020, Tesla expanded the principles of caring for employees to go beyond what traditional car manufacturers offer in order to create a more holistic approach to well-being, including mental and physical health. They have expanded their program for evaluating the safety of contractors on a more global scale to harmonize standard safety rules at all sites. The company adds and improves medical clinics at their factory in Fremont, Nevada Gigafactory and Shanghai Gigafactory.
The company strives to make everyone look forward to joining work every day and know that they can enjoy a safe and healthy future.
Featured image: Tesla
About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.