The 10,000 employees at Tesla’s California assembly plant may want to hire their own doctors. According to a new report by The Center for Investigative Reporting, in partnership with Reveal, the company’s on-site “clinic’s practices are unsafe and unethical.” What’s more, the supposed medical aid seemed more focused on keeping injuries off the books than helping workers hurt on the job.
According to Reveal‘s report, when a worker is injured on the Tesla factory floor, “medical staff are forbidden from calling 911 without permission” and if the on-site medics decide it’s bad enough, they may “be sent to the emergency room in a Lyft.” Much more typical, though, is that the worker will reportedly just be sent back to the production line.
Why would Tesla want to keep injuries off-the-record? Perhaps because the company has stated that its goal is to be the safest factory on Earth. Yet, according to Reveal, it is achieving this in part by “doubl[ing] down on its efforts to hide serious injuries from the government and public.”
It’s a doozy of a report–well worth a read, as well as great fodder for pro-union arguments (which Tesla has claimed is exactly what Reveal is trying to do). We’ve reached out to Tesla for comment, of course, and will update if we hear back.
Updated: While Tesla has no comment, they sent a statement from Dr. Basil Besh, the doctor who owns Access Omnicare the on-site clinic, who refutes Reveal’s * ahem * diagnosis. In the statement, Besh noted “all members of my team are empowered to call 911 for any limb or life-threatening condition”, but prefers reserving ambulances “for life or limb threatening injuries” because every ambulance “thoughtlessly called for a non-life-threatening injury is one less ambulance that is available to actually save a life.”
He also noted that the provider who spoke with Reveal worked at their clinic for “less than two weeks” and “is currently the subject of an investigation by the California Medical Board” (although they did not specify the nature of that investigation) and argued that “this report uses poor sourcing to tell a story consistent with a predetermined agenda.”