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Work Injuries: The Dark Side of Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory

By David Boehrer | Posted on October 26, 2020

Tesla’s battery Gigafactory in Nevada is under fire for a high rate of routine worker injuries, at least three injuries each month.

Is Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory Safe for Workers?

Workers at Tesla’s battery factory in Reno are paying a high price for employment. A new USA Today report shows that Tesla’s Gigafactory workers suffer a high rate of on-the-job accidents. Reports from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) show an average of at least three injuries each month.

In 2014, Nevada won a competition that allowed Tesla to build its battery Gigafactory in Reno. Tesla promised its Gigafactory would be the largest factory in the world, employing thousands of workers and generating $5 billion in capital investment. To secure the project, Reno officials promised lightning-fast construction permits and Nevada lawmakers rushed through the largest tax abatement package in state history.

Although Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory just opened in 2014, OSHA safety inspectors were on-site more than 90 times to investigate safety violations in the first three years of operation. OSHA found that some accidents and injuries, including grisly amputations, were never recorded by Tesla or reported to OSHA. Lane Dillon, a temporary worker, was hired at the Tesla factory to install battery racks. Several hours into his shift, part of his index finger was amputated when workers helping lift a heavy battery rack dropped it on his hand. Dillon’s injury was never reported to workplace safety inspectors as required by state and federal law.

Warehouse and factory workers make up a large percentage of severe injuries seen by Nevada’s best work injury lawyers. Jobs can be extremely dangerous due to requirements of heavy lifting, loading and unloading, climbing to second level platforms, and forklift operations. Tesla’s Gigafactory was built at a furious pace, because Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, promised investors that the factory would be turning out 5,000 Model 3 sedans every week by the end of 2017. Production actually began before construction was completed. In 2015, the Gigfactory employed 24 workers. By the end of 2017, there were 3,200 workers. Currently, there are over 7,000 workers.

OSHA officials blame fast construction and lack of safety controls for so many worker accidents and injuries at the Tesla Gigafactory. With 7,000 workers rushing to meet daily work demands, giant robot arms swinging through the air, and driverless forklifts moving constantly, it’s no wonder Nevada’s best injury lawyers are flooded with workplace injury claims.

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