When Elon Musk admitted he was in “production hell” keeping up with orders for the Model 3, he took a few risks in order to make it to the finish line.
It was mid-2018 and Tesla had still not hit its widely publicized production goal of 5,000 Model 3s per week… and being several months behind on that was not making investors too happy.
So Tesla created a temporary production line they called the GA4 last summer that was contained within a tent outside of its factory walls. It reportedly took three weeks to build the line, which was the third one for Tesla’s Fremont, CA compound, and Musk bragged on Twitter that it took very few resources to get it up and running.
Too few, says Cal/OSHA, who set their regulatory sites on the structure as soon as it was erected and made it the target of several inspections over the remainder of the year.
It was recently reported by Business Insider that the results of these inspections were the issuance of six violations for things like failing to obtain a permit and failure to inspect the tent for possible safety hazards. Even one for not training workers on proper evacuation strategies. Citations were issued for a total amount of more than $29,000 which, Gizmodo enjoyed pointing out, is actually less than it costs to buy ONE Tesla.
Laurie Shelby, VP of EHS for Tesla, said that the company is appealing the fines. She also reportedly stressed that the inspections were not prompted by any safety issues and that the company was “intently focused” on GA4 and implementing safety protocols to support its use.
And let’s hope that’s true, despite the reputation Tesla’s Fremont facility has gained as being something of an ergonomic and safety incident nightmare. Because for a big company like Tesla, fines for non-compliance, on their own, don’t seem like they carry much of a lesson. Especially when you can pay them with a single item off of your non-compliant assembly line.