Following the recent claims of a higher than average injury rate at Tesla’s Fremont factory, CEO Elon Musk is getting involved personally to encourage workers to report their injury in order to fix the cause.
The CEO even said that he plans to perform the same tasks as Tesla workers getting injured on the factory floor.
In an email to all employees this week, Musk wrote:
“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.”
That would be quite a task and could add significantly to Musk’s workload since even if Tesla has been reducing its injury rate at the Fremont factory and now claims the lowest injury rate in the industry, there are over 10,000 people working at the factory and injury can be inevitable at some point.
At the managerial level, the email reflects something Musk has been emphasizing for a while now – that managers should get involved more directly in their team’s work. It’s something he tried to instill in Grohmann Engineering after Tesla’s acquisition for example. He wrote in an email at the time:
“Everyone will have equal access to parking, eating the same tables, and there will be no management offices. I am convinced that managers should work at the forefront, in the same work environment as the entire team. Even though I run the company myself, I still do not have my own office and often moved my workplace to the most challenging area in the factory and slept on the factory floor when there was a real crisis. Managers should always take care of their team before they take care of themselves – the supervisor is there to serve his team – not the other way round.”
As we reported today, it also plays into Tesla’s attempt to maintain its “hardcore” startup mentality into a larger and rapidly growing corporation.