Tesla has long been criticized for safety at its Fremont plant, and employees have added a layer of concern since restarting production during the Coronavirus pandemic in May,media CNET reported. According to a report published Friday by the San Francisco Chronicle, Fremont’s management sent an e-mail sing-off to try to reassure workers that the company’s security measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 were inadequate.
The letter was made by Laurie Shelby, Tesla’s vice president of environment, health and safety, making some very bold claims, but offered little evidence or even a way to verify them. “Since we started operations, our COVID-19 workplace infection rate has been zero,” Shelby said in a statement to employees. “THE EXPOSURE OF COVID-19 OCCURS PRIMARILY OUTSIDE THE WORKPLACE THROUGH FAMILY MEMBERS OR ROOMMATES, AND IN MOST CASES EMPLOYEES FOLLOW SAFETY PROTOCOLS TO NOTIFY THEIR MANAGER AND STAY AT HOME OR GO FOR TESTING. “
In addition, the Washington Post recently reported, citing anonymous sources, that Tesla had a COVID infection at its main seating plant in Fremont. Tesla hasn’t verified the claims, but the rumors are still noteworthy. Tesla’s previous measures to prevent infections during the reopening include staggering shifts and measuring workers’ temperatures one by one. These measures are no longer effective. Shifts are no longer staggered, and the body temperature of employees is now monitored by thermal imaging cameras.
Several Fremont plant workers interviewed by CNBC on condition of anonymity said it was almost impossible to comply with The Alameda County Board of Health guidelines on disinfection of shared tools and to maintain social distance during shifts and even during breaks.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.