Autonomous vehicles, also known as self-driving cars, used to be a vestige of science fiction and cartoons. Remember the Jetsons? But with all the advances being made in artificial intelligence and new technologies, the prospect is becoming more real. In the race to achieve the goal of an autonomous vehicle, is employee safety in California being jeopardized? Workplace injuries at Tesla's electric car factory may be a cause for concern.
A look at the inside of the factory shows the dominant colors of the factory are red and grey. There are different shades of grey to differentiate between walkways and pathways for forklifts and other vehicles. What is not apparent is yellow, indicating caution. When the head of safety raised this as an issue, she was told that her boss doesn't like yellow.
Tesla's injury rate was above the workplace average for 2016 but saw a sharp drop in 2017. However, what appeared to be a drop may have resulted from Tesla not reporting some of the workplace injuries that may have occurred. There were many reports of sprains, strains and stress injuries that did not appear on the official injury logs.
Working in an innovative industry in California can be challenging, exciting and fulfilling. A person should not have to sacrifice his or her own personal safety in order to work in such an environment. Despite all the precautions taken to avoid workplace injuries, they still occur. When they do, workers' compensation attorneys can help. A knowledgeable attorney can assist an injured worker, or the surviving family of a worker killed on the job, in determining the best course of action with respect to any potential financial claims.
Source: technologyreview.com, "Tesla says its factory is safer -- but it left injuries off the books", Will Evans and Alyssa Jeong Perry, April 16, 2018