Elon Musk. CREDIT: Getty Images
Tesla, the electric-automobile manufacturer led by famed CEO Elon Musk, has struggled mightily with safety over the past few years. California nonprofit Worksafe, a worker safety advocacy group, recently made headlines when it reported that the injury rate at Tesla’s Fremont, California, plant was more than 30 percent higher than the industry average in 2014 and 2015.
Musk insists, however, that safety is the number one priority at Tesla. He claims that recent actions, like the company’s hiring thousands of employees to create a third shift and reduce excess overtime, have made a major impact in lowering the injury rate.
A recent email Musk sent to employees indicates just how seriously he’s taking the issue. Here’s part of the email, as reported by news site Electrek:
No words can express how much I care about your safety and wellbeing. It breaks my heart when someone is injured building cars and trying their best to make Tesla successful.
Going forward, I’ve asked that every injury be reported directly to me, without exception. I’m meeting with the safety team every week and would like to meet every injured person as soon as they are well, so that I can understand from them exactly what we need to do to make it better. I will then go down to the production line and perform the same task that they perform.
This is what all managers at Tesla should do as a matter of course. At Tesla, we lead from the front line, not from some safe and comfortable ivory tower. Managers must always put their team’s safety above their own.
If Musk proves true to his word, it will be a remarkable example of a company leader who’s willing to do what it takes to affect change–and show that he isn’t afraid to get down in the trenches.