To meet Model 3 quotas, Tesla factory workers were provided free Red Bull to stay awake and instructed to walk through raw sewage to avoid interrupting production, according to a new Bloomberg Businessweek report.
Reports of harsh conditions and intense pressure continue to emerge from the Fremont, California, factory, which CNBC previously reported has suffered several fires as the company raced to meet self-imposed production targets. The latest details are some of the most jarring and could raise questions of violations of factory workers’ rights.
Unnamed employees told Businessweek they were asked to walk through raw sewage that had spilled on the factory floor in order to “keep the line going.” The factory also provided free Red Bull energy drinks to battle exhaustion, fueling a zombie-like trance they called the “Tesla stare,” Businessweek reports.
Tesla told the business outlet it wasn’t aware of such instructions and that the plumbing issue was quickly resolved.
“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our employees,” a company spokesperson told CNBC. “This is not to say that there aren’t real issues that need to be dealt with at Tesla or that we’ve made no mistakes with any of the 40,000 people who work at our company. However, there should be absolutely no question that we care deeply about the well-being of our employees and that we try our absolute hardest to do the right thing and to fail less often.”
Businessweek reports Tesla’s factory troubles began long before Model 3 production.
In one supposed incident in late 2016, a factory worker had his leg amputated after being struck by a forklift outside the main building, according to Businessweek. The driver of the forklift had been doing doughnuts, and has since been fired, the company told Businessweek. The incident was formally reported to state authorities as an “ankle fracture.”
Read the full details of Tesla’s production push at Bloomberg Businessweek.