back to article Super Cali health inspectors: Tesla blood awoke us

California's workplace safety monitor is investigating Tesla over the conditions at its main assembly plant. California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) says it will be looking into the maker of Silicon Valley status symbols in the wake of a damning report on the hazards employees face in Tesla's …

  1. Mark 85

    Why California?

    I'm just curious why is the plant in California? High labor and other costs associated with any manufacturing there. It's good they have a tough OSHA from an employee standpoint but then, Tesla hasn't been fined yet (or maybe there's just not been any news reports). Just very surprising to me.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Why California?

      They got a hell of a deal on the plant when GM/Toyota packed up and left.

      They only paid $42m for a 5.5m sq-ft building on 370 acres of land.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Alien8n

        Re: Why California?

        While cost of living may be high land costs in California are actually ridiculously cheap for industry. Wafer fabs in California are some of the only ones built in a linear fashion, similar to car plants. Everywhere else builds them in a daisy petal design with a single photolithography room in the centre. When I was doing semiconductor engineering the wafer fab was based in El Segundo, California for this reason. To get around health and safety laws though the usual trick is to relocate the more labour intensive work to Mexico where the health and safety laws a re more relaxed. Thankfully for the workers in Mexico the supplier of the testing equipment refused to supply the test kit without the safety cut-off switches in place. The company wanted them removed to save 5000 dollars per machine, but the manufacturer pointed out that left nothing between the operator and a potential 10,000 volts. When the company still insisted on not having the safety cut-outs that was when the manufacturer dug in and refused to sell without them, and quite rightly so.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why California?

          Tesla uses a LOT of robots in their plant, for which cost of living doesn't matter. I could see companies like Apple moving a lot of manufacturing back to the US as it becomes more automated, to score political points (not just with Trump, this was something on the radar before him and will be after he's gone) though obviously it won't have the effect that people stuck in the 70s/80s like Trump expect since the jobs created will be high tech jobs not blue collar manufacturing.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's a denominator and we demand to see it.

    ""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..."


    Is that per month, or per vehicle produced?

    Big difference, because I seem to recall that that GM/Toyota NUMMI were chucking out TTAs (Tedious Transportation Appliances) at a fantastic rate.

    Wiki says, "428,633 units in 2006." Tesla is hoping to hit 20% of that, someday.

    So which is it?

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Re: There's a denominator and we demand to see it.

      For proper accuracy, it should be per 1000 hours worked.

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: There's a denominator and we demand to see it.

        Typically in the US what is calculated is a Total Recordable Incidence Rate (TRIR) which is based on recordable incidents. For comparison purposes it is normalized to 200,000 hours (100 employees, 40 hours/week, 50 weeks/year).

    2. Gordon 10

      Re: There's a denominator and we demand to see it.

      No no no no. You are all getting it wrong.

      Its the people who keep getting halved.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wish we had some yellow.

    The parts of the floor where we're supposed to walk are blue, everywhere else is unpainted. Tow motors have 2 blue spotlights pointed at the floor so you can tell just by looking down that one is a few meters behind you. Why? Because this isn't CA, I guess... sigh

    1. notowenwilson

      Re: wish we had some yellow.

      My friend doesn't get it, can you explain the blue spotlight thing for him?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: tha blues

        The lights are pointed downward from the top of the driver cage, at roughly 45 degrees, one forward and one backward (because they drive around in reverse when the forks are full of stuff that blocks the front view). When you're walking toward a blind corner and a tow motor is coming on the other side, your first clue is either a horn sounding or a moving blue splotch on the floor.

  4. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge


    It's probably a variant on the dambusters bombers as the barometric altimeters then in use lacked sufficient accuracy.

    Two spotlights were mounted, one under the aircraft's nose and the other under the fuselage, so that at the correct height their light beams would converge on the surface of the water.

    I have a different experience since arriving in Canada, that locomotive lights have two lights mounted at 12' o'clock (One over the other) & two at the 5 & 7 o'clock positions respectively.

    From a distance the lights appear as one, but once the minimum safe distance with respect to the observer (Say 1 minute away), the lights "break off" from each other & become distinct individually visible.

    I'm not sure if this observable effect is by design or lucky accident.

    1. Orv Silver badge

      Re: Dambusters.

      I think the visual merging aspect is mostly accident -- it would be speed dependent after all, and the width is pretty much set by the width of the locomotive -- but you have the basic idea right. "Ditch lights" were added to make trains easier to distinguish when approaching grade crossings. A single headlight gives no good reference for position or distance and can, at a glance, be easily mistaken for a distant house light or streetlight. In the US ditch lights are actually required for going more than 20 mph through grade crossings, and usually go into a flashing mode when the horn is sounded; they replaced the older "Mars lights" as an attention-getting device.

      This discussion reminds me of a time I was driving down a section of I-5 in southern Washington, where the BNSF mainline runs down the freeway median. It was the middle of the night and I was complaining loudly about "that idiot who has their high-beams on" when I realized that idiot was driving an oncoming locomotive.

  5. Paul Hargreaves

    Super Cali health inspectors: Tesla blood awoke us

    When trying to oh buy a car, it's frankly quite absurd,

    Nisson leaf through trade guides to find stats that you've heard,

    A little lot of battery pack will keep your driveway clean,

    You'll go 0-60 much faster than you mean...

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      Re: Super Cali health inspectors: Tesla blood awoke us

      Super Cali health inspectors: Tesla blood awoke us

      Because I was afraid to work

      As Cali's Health Inspectors said that Tesla was bad

      Elon gave me nose a tweak

      And told me he was sad

      But then one day I learned that yellow paint

      Would save me bleedin nose

      The biggest H&S bollocks that you ever heard

      And this is how it goes, oh

      Super Cali health inspectors: Tesla blood awoke us

      (Its late for me, a few beers, empty stomach & dead on my feet - I'll be surprised if this is still here when I wake up).

  6. Blockchain commentard

    "Elon does not like the color yellow." - I hear this is common amongst the lizard people.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge


      I don't think what color the boss likes or dislikes comes into the matter.

      OSHA needs to step up their game a bit. Not meeting OSHA regs comes with some hefty penalties.(although usually only after someone dies or is seriously injured, does a real inspection occur)

    2. Eddy Ito

      It must be true because they don't sell yellow cars. Of course they don't sell cyan, orange, green or even chartreuse cars either so maybe it has something to do with a hypersensitivity to frequencies between 480 THz and 600 THz that is the problem.

  7. Insert sadsack pun here

    “an ideologically motivated attack by an extremist organization working directly with union supporters...”

    Tesla should be ashamed of itself. It’s one thing to say that you disagree with unionists, but saying this is an extremist attack is ridiculous. They’re literally bracketing the Committee for Investigative Journalism with extremists like ISIS, Boko Haram, the KKK, the UFF and CAMRA. They really need to take the tone of their communications down and not respond to every disagreement with a rhetorical nuclear counterstrike.

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      "Extremist" is a politically convenient term currently being hijacked by the media and politicians for anything politically or physically violent (traditionally the "terrorists") or simply not following the politics of the western governments. In the 70's/80's it was widely used in the UK as a term for anyone simply not following the mid to right wing political dogma - in particular socialist groups who were branded 'left wing extremists'. Violence not orchestrated by the state was generally attributed to 'terrorists'.

      An "extremist" is someone outside the bounds of your personal bubble ...

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        An "extremist" is someone outside the bounds of your personal bubble ...

        Possibly two along. Those next door are idiots, wankers, dickheads, clueless, etc. You have to go further out to find the swivel-eyed loons, extremists, terrorists, nut jobs.

        I would think it comes down to who one believes might be brought into one's own bubble from outside.

    2. InNY


      The Campaign for Real Ale is a terrorist organization?

      1. Not an Anonymous Coward

        Re: CAMRA?

        It's extremists like them that did for Watney's and consigned the Party Seven to the dustbin of history.

    3. Ochib

      unionists, were they the fellows who keep saying "NO NO NO NO"

      1. kain preacher

        Last time I check Tesla was non union.

        Checks. Yep still non union .

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Tesla should be ashamed of itself. "

      So, failure to passively fall in line and accept such an accusation means one should be ashamed? NOT.

      There's a growing expectation that the proper response to an accusation is to cringe, frantically apologize and take immediate action to satisfy the accusers. Bullshit. Tesla has every right to rebut accusations, and an honest person will hold judgments about "being ashamed" until the matter is investigated. Because guess what? Sometimes these really are politically motivated attacks!

      Being not blinded by my ideological beliefs, I'll wait to see how it falls out.

      "They really need to take the tone of their communications down and not respond to every disagreement with a rhetorical nuclear counterstrike"

      Yes, YOU really should tone down before you start blathering about ISIS and the KKK. Tesla didn't call nasty names in its response. Unlike you.

      1. Orv Silver badge

        Re: "Tesla should be ashamed of itself. "

        I think when accused of blatantly and obviously violating safety rules, if you're really innocent the correct response would be "have a look at the yellow paint on our floors, see?" At least, if you're actually following the rules. Tesla's prickly response suggests they're guilty and stalling for time. Elon is part of a generation of corporate CEOs that think that laws don't apply to them (see also Uber).

        1. Andy Tunnah

          Re: "Tesla should be ashamed of itself. "

          Why does it suggest that ? People respond differently to different things. Some people get arsey or angry when they're falsely accused, some people do it when they're accurately accused. Their prickly response, imo, shows a human being angry because of quite damaging accusations against the business they love working for. But that's just me

    5. Andy Tunnah

      You're the one bracketing em with ISIS, KKK, et al. The rest of us know extremism has different applications.

  8. GettinSadda

    "Elon does not like the color yellow"

    Is this a recent dislike?

  9. imanidiot Silver badge

    I wouldn't be surprised if in all the broohaha over "too much automation" (Which is probably bullshit) and bringing in more and more human workers, the safety of those meatbags took a back seat.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      It is almost certain that there are people trying to use OSHA as a stick to beat up Tesla because they lost their job.

      It happens to every company sooner or later, and Tesla have just fired quite a lot of people.

      The state OSHA office are rightly obliged to investigate all allegations, and I hope they are taking them seriously.

      Even if it is a false allegation, there will be things Tesla should do better.

      Unlike most UK local government, who tend to completely ignore their legal duty to investigate H&S reports, and then whitewash over the hospitalizations they could have prevented.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Unlike most UK local government, who tend to completely ignore their legal duty to investigate H&S reports, and then whitewash over the hospitalizations they could have prevented.

        I think you'll find that any external investigation in the UK for health and safety breaches is the responsibility of the Health & Safety Executive, and they most certainly don't whitewash anything.

        From the point of view of an employer, the names of the four horsemen are not death, famine, war and conquest, they are far more sinister beings known as HMRC, HSE, CMA, and the Environment Agency.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Not true. The HSE only enforce a short list of "high-risk" industries, such as construction.

          The local shop, hotels - those are all enforced by the local council.

          The HSE have the legal right to step in, but they do not have the legal duty.

  10. Christoph

    "Elon does not like the color yellow."

    It interferes with his power ring?

    1. 404

      Re: "Elon does not like the color yellow."

      Elon becomes more like Mr. Burns from 'The Simpsons' every day...

      Between Bezos and Elon... one of them HAS to become a Bond-style super criminal, to contemplate otherwise is plain folly and just no fun at all lol.

  11. John McCallum

    Workplace accidents

    I work for a pallet company and when there was a serious accident one of the people to respond was the local murder squad as well as the HSE rep, the operator of the machine lost part of his foot.

    1. kain preacher

      Re: Workplace accidents

      In California the police only come if there is a loss of life.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Workplace accidents

        Or if there is an opportunity to shoot a black man!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Workplace accidents

      This was a few years ago but I saw a piling machine come through a wall into our company's car park and crush a car. They were frantically trying to remove a piling sleeve with setting concrete in it so they then started yanking at it with a crane. When the chain broke, flew into our carpark and sliced off another car's wing mirror, we called the police. But, yes, HSE just said "if no one actually got hurt, then, sorry, we are too busy". I think the contractors paid off the car owners with cash after that and rebuilt the wall.

      So sure, no one got hurt, everyone got compensated but it still felt "wrong" - sometimes there needs to be more sanction to discourage dangerous behaviour, otherwise it will just keep going until the time when they don't get lucky and someone gets seriously hurt.

  12. ForthIsNotDead

    Best headline...

    ... and by-line I've seen in a long time.

    Beer to author and/or editor.


  13. renniks

    poor H&S in YankeeLand?

    who would have guessed...

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