- Amid United Automobile Workers (UAW) union efforts to organize workers, some employees at Tesa's Fremont, CA plant allege chemical training is not up to par, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. This is putting employees in danger of chemical exposure and long-term health problems, prompting an investigation.
- California laws require hazardous chemical training on proper handling, storage and disposal of commercial chemicals, and they must make chemical information (MSDS) paperwork available for reference. An employee of the plant, Dennis Cruz, told SFC that he had damaged his eyes when chemical residue got in them because he wasn't trained on this danger.
- The Worksafe occupational safety group in Oakland, CA advised that between 2014 and 2015, the Tesla plant reported accidents at a higher rate than the national average for the auto industry. However, Tesla says that it monitors the use of hazardous chemicals and holds meetings to educate employees on the safe use of products in the plant.
It's unclear how Tesla manages its chemical training program currently, but employees have reported that they have been exposed to and harmed by at least one chemical in use. California has some of the strictest laws in the U.S. concerning hazardous chemical management and communication. Employers are also required to have an effective injury and illness protection program for all employees, regardless of the work they perform or chance of being exposed to chemicals.
Learning leaders must of course keep compliance training top of mind. Most commercial plants require an on-site hazard prevention officer who conducts regular checks of the environment as well as monthly trainings on chemical use.
Employers should periodically review any reports of employee injury and take steps to prevent further issues with proactive communication and educational efforts. Additionally, any compliance issues and updates need to be shared with employees, using on-demand training methods.