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Tesla Workers Took Three Times As Many Sick Days In 2018: Report

REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter

Workers at Tesla’s only electric car factory in California took about three times as many sick days in 2018 than in the year before, Bloomberg reports.

When the increase in the size of the workforce is accounted for, the average time each employee spent off the job doubled in 2018. In total, employees spent 22,454 days off work on sick leave in 2018 versus just 7,619 days in 2017, according to a company report viewed by Bloomberg.

The rate of injuries per hour worked stayed roughly the same, suggesting that each injury sustained in 2018 might have been more severe on average than those that happened in 2017, according to former Occupational Safety and Health Administration chief of staff Deborah Berkowitz.

“The most important metric is fatalities, and our number is zero,” Tesla vice president Laurie Shelby told Bloomberg. “It was a big ramp year for Model 3, so there were a lot more hours worked, more production staff and more potential for incidents. We really focused on making sure we had our safety team out in the area as we ramped.”

Shelby also disputed the theory that injuries were more severe. (RELATED: Tesla Plans Price Hikes To Keep Struggling Stores Open)

Tesla’s workforce is in flux. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in January the electric car manufacturer is cutting 7 percent of its workforce. The cuts amount to roughly 3,150 jobs across Tesla’s staff.

A Tesla Model 3 car is displayed during a media preview at the Auto China 2018 motor show in Beijing, China April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A Tesla Model 3 car is displayed during a media preview at the Auto China 2018 motor show in Beijing, China April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Musk and Tesla rode through a tumultuous 2018 as Musk continued to increase Tesla’s Model 3 production goals to bring the price per car down to $35,000.

Musk told his followers on Twitter in August 2018 that he had secured funding to take the electric car manufacturer private at $420 a share. The announcement prompted an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for allegedly making the announcement to boost Tesla’s share price.

Musk and Tesla settled with the SEC, agreeing to pay separate fines of $20 million each. Musk also agreed to step down as chairman of the carmaker.

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