California regulators on Tuesday launched a new investigation into Tesla, a day after the automaker called an investigative news outlet an “extremist organization” for reporting a story on worker conditions at its factory in the state.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health said Wednesday it “takes seriously reports of workplace hazards and allegations of employers’ underreporting recordable work-related injuries and illnesses on the Log 300.”
Reveal, an online investigative outlet run by the Center For Investigative Reporting, published a story on Monday that said Tesla failed to report some worker injuries at its Fremont, California, factory on legally mandated reports, including the Log 300. In response, Tesla disputed the entirety of the piece in an unhinged blog post.
Erika Monterroza, a spokesperson for the California industrial relations department, confirmed that an “open inspection” into conditions at the Fremont factory was launched on Tuesday, but Monterroza wouldn’t say if the Reveal report spurred the probe.
Monterroza did say, “Cal/OSHA’s inspections typically include a review of the employer’s Log 300, as well as a review to ensure that serious injuries are reported directly to Cal/OSHA within eight hours as required by law.”
“Cal/OSHA’s regulations define a serious injury or illness as one that requires employee hospitalization for more than 24 hours for other than medical observation, or in which a part of the body is lost or permanent disfigurement occurs,” Monterroza said.
In its lengthy rebuttal to Reveal, the company accused it of “directly” working with the United Auto Workers to produce its story. (The UAW has been trying to organize at the Fremont plant for over a year.)
Tesla declined to comment when Jalopnik asked earlier if it had any evidence to support its insinuation. Reveal pushed back on Tesla’s baseless allegations in a string of tweets Tuesday:
A Tesla spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the Cal/OSHA investigation. We’ll update the story if we hear back.
Update 7:20 PM EDT: A Tesla spokesperson responded with the following statement:
The injury rate at our Fremont factory is half what it was in the final years of the UAW plant operated by GM/Toyota immediately before us, and we care deeply about the safety and well-being of our people and strive to do better every day. Cal-OSHA is required to investigate any claims that are made, regardless of whether they have merit or are baseless (as we believe these are), and we always provide our full cooperation. Last year, a Cal-OSHA investigation into our injury reporting and record-keeping was closed without any violations found and without any further action taken. In fact, unlike other automakers who in the past have been cited by OSHA for record-keeping violations, we have never in the entire history of our company received a violation for inaccurate or incomplete injury record-keeping.