The rate of serious injuries at a Tesla factory is double the industry average, a worker advocacy group has claimed in a report calling for better workplace protections.
Total injuries at the plant are a third higher than the industry average, the report said.
The United Auto Workers (UAW), the industry’s largest union in the United States, commissioned the report.
The study by Worksafe, a nonprofit group, used Tesla’s own internal data to show injury rates at the company’s plant in Fremont, California.
It used data from 2015, the last year for which industry-wide comparative figures are available.
The rate of serious injuries, those involving job transfers or missed days, was 7.9 per 100 workers, compared to the industry average of 3.9.
The data, which compared injury rates among auto assembly workers, not suppliers, also found a total incidence rate of 8.8 injuries per 100 workers, compared to 6.7 for the industry as a whole.
Tesla responded to the report by saying its accident rate in the first quarter of 2017 was 32 percent better than the industry average, due in part to adding a third shift at the plant.
A spokesman for the firm said in a statement: ‘We may have had some challenges in the past as we were learning how to become a car company.
‘But what matters is the future and with the changes we´ve made, we now have the lowest injury rate in the industry by far,’ said Tesla in a statement.
The UAW has an intense effort underway to organise workers at the Tesla plant, as the company is the only US-based car manufacturer without union representation.