East Bay News

1 Tesla worker released after industrial accident in Fremont

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Tesla CEO visits his injured employees Fremont fire truck at Tesla plant after industrial accident

Three Tesla workers were hospitalized following an industrial accident at the electric car company's assembly plant in Fremont Wednesday. The workers were treated after hot metal spilled on them.

A spokesperson with the Fremont Fire Department told ABC7 News that the 911 call initially reported a fire at the Tesla factory, but it turned out to be an industrial accident. Three Tesla workers were brought to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center for burns. One was released early Wednesday afternoon.

ABC7 News was in the plant last month for a rare look at the car factory's assembly line. It is not clear exactly where Wednesday's accident took place, but ABC7 News has learned three employees were injured by hot metal from an aluminum casting press.

The Fremont Fire Department reports the burns to the victims range from moderate to serious. Their next step, after getting the workers to the hospital, was to contact state safety regulators.

"Any time there is any kind of industrial injury, no matter where in the city of Fremont, we're required to notify OSHA, which is what we do, within 24 hours," said Captain Daniel Cardenas.

"One of their HR, human resources person, has been here almost from the beginning in support of their employees and their families," said Valley Medical Center spokesperson Joy Alexiou. "Any patient in our burn center is getting the best care possible."

Tesla did not say who the workers were, but did release a statement that said, "There was a failure in a low pressure aluminum casting press. Three employees were injured by hot metal from that press. We are making sure that they receive the best possible care."

Tesla CEO Elon Musk visited his injured employees at the Valley Medical Center in San Jose Wednesday night. He said he wanted to visit them personally to see if they were OK and that they were receiving the best possible medical care.

"I spoke to all three and they're all conscious and they seem in pretty good spirits, given the accident," said Musk.

Musk says there was an equipment malfunction in a low pressure aluminum die casting operation. He said, "It's sort of just hot metal splashed on them. In the case of Kevin and Jorge it looks like I'm guessing they'll make a full recovery. In the case of Jesus, his hands were burned pretty badly, so it's not clear what the recovery is going to be," said Musk.

CAL OSHA is investigating the accident. In 2012, CAL OSHA says a citation was issued to Tesla for several violations, one of which was serious because they didn't have a piece of protective equipment in place.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
fremont, tesla, cal OSHA, electric vehicles, east bay news
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