Recall, just days ago we wrote about how four Tesla workers had tested positive for the coronavirus last week. This news came after we noted that two workers had tested positive for the virus just days after Elon Musk went to war with Alameda County and Governor Newsom for the right to re-open his Fremont factory.
Now, Tesla’s head of environment, health and safety is singing another tune, claiming that Tesla has “had zero COVID-19 workplace transmissions,” since restarting operations at Fremont in May. In other words, Tesla is blaming the transmission on what employees are doing outside of the workplace.
“Since we restarted operations, we have had zero COVID-19 workplace transmissions. COVID-19 exposure has occurred outside the workplace primarily through family members or housemates, and in most instances, the employee followed safety protocol, informed their manager and stayed home or went to get tested,” the e-mail states.
But that’s a bold claim to make without having the science to back up how one arrives at the conclusion of where and when virus transmissions take place. After all, you can’t see, feel or touch the virus. So, how can Tesla be so certain?
Meanwhile, employees told CNBC late last week that it is “impossible” to do their work building cars while complying with safety rules that have been put into place by Alameda County.
Specifically, these employees said, they cannot wear a face covering during their entire shift, thoroughly clean shared tools and equipment between shifts, and keep social distance between coworkers during work, or even during breaks.
This gels with that employees had previously reported to both the Washington Post and pro-Tesla blog electrek last week.
An employee with knowledge of the situation said that four workers on the company’s main Model S/X assembly line tested positive for the virus on Wednesday of last week, according to an exclusive by electrek. Those who tested positive all worked on the same part of the assembly line.
Further, due to the company’s agreement with Alameda County, wherein it wasn’t required to report known cases before the agreement, electrek says: “Positive cases among employees who were not residents of Alameda County, even though the factory is located in the county, might not have been reported.”
The report also included several photos of the Model S/X assembly line which appear to show people working in close vicinity to one another.
Recall, last week we also noted that workers at one of Tesla’s California factories tested positive for coronavirus last month, days after Elon Musk was fighting tooth and nail with Alameda County – and even Governor Newsom – to re-open in the midst of the global pandemic.
Supervisors at the company “held meetings with their teams to disclose the company had reported several cases of the coronavirus” and the employees who tested positive were told to stay home, according to the Washington Post.
One employee said a supervisor confirmed two cases of the coronavirus at the company’s seat-assembly plant, which is located a “short drive” from the company’s Fremont factory:
The worker, in the separate building from Tesla’s main plant, said those affected included one from Tesla’s morning shift and another from its evening shift. The worker expressed concern over a perceived lack of caution on the production line.
Workers at Tesla said the restart of production was an “environment of fear”, according to WaPo.
One employee said of Tesla’s lack of precautions: “No social distancing at all when clocking in/out [because] people are … in a hurry to go home or get back to their work station. As far as social distancing, management don’t say anything to the associates [because] they’re not doing it either.”
The worker said the changes were “like nothing but with a mask on”. Recall, we documented Musk’s tussle with Alameda County surrounding re-opening of the company’s Fremont plant at length last month.