OSHA has cited TESLA Inc. $110,863 for safety violations they uncovered after an employee was hospitalized with electrical burns on the job. It’s Tesla’s single largest safety fine to date.
In late December, four employees at Tesla subsidiary SolarCity were working on a 19-acre solar farm at Hampshire College, a small, private liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts, when one of the workers attempted to take a photo of an electrical panel that was energized at 13,800 volts —immediately shocking him.
Investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found 10 separate violations, most of which carried a fine of $12,934 each.
OSHA claims the four workers had been issued Class 0 safety gloves, which were rated to protect them against up to 1,000 volts of electricity. While the workers each completed an online safety class mandated by Tesla, the Palo Alto-based company allegedly didn’t require the group demonstrate safety proficiency.
None of the workers on site that day could tell investigators how far away they should have been standing from a 13,800-volt energy source.
An investigation revealed that the employee was performing work on a piece of equipment that he was not authorized or tasked to work on. He was treated immediately, has since recovered from his injury and has been back working at Tesla for the last few months.