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Tesla factory in Grünheide, Brandenburg

Photo: Patrick Pleul / dpa

According to a media report, a striking number of accidents occur at the factory of the US car manufacturer Tesla in Grünheide, Brandenburg. The "star" reports this, citing previously unknown documents from authorities and emergency services.

According to the magazine, a memorandum from the State Office for Occupational Safety and Health shows that accidents happened almost daily on the factory premises over a longer period of time. Between June and November 2022 alone, Tesla itself reported at least 190 reportable accidents. In Germany, all accidents at work must be reported if employees are unable to work for at least three days.

According to Stern, documents from the rescue centers also document that Musk's factory requested an ambulance or helicopter 247 times in the first year after opening. Converted to the number of employees, this is – in a similar period – three times as many emergencies as, for example, at Audi's plant in Ingolstadt.

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According to the report, details of the accidents are also known: The rescue reports show, among other things, that a 50-kilogram wooden box fell on the head of an employee from a height of several meters or that an employee broke into a dosing furnace with red-hot aluminum with his foot. In addition, the rescuers had listed injuries caused by burns, hydrochloric acid or amputated limbs.

The district head of IG Metall for Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony, Dirk Schulze, told Stern: "This frequency of accidents at work is not normal." Rather, it is a multiple of what is usual in other automotive companies. "I'm most worried that someday someone will die."

According to the report, Tesla itself did not comment on the documents or allegations made by employees and labor lawyers. Brandenburg's Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) told the magazine that he was "not unaware" of accidents at the plant almost every day. However, he was "not Tesla's spokesman".

Apparently also 26 environmental incidents

In addition to occupational accidents, the magazine also reports on several environmental incidents. Since its opening a year and a half ago, 26 environmental accidents have been reported. According to the magazine, this emerges from information from the Brandenburg State Office for the Environment, which is available to the dpa news agency in addition to the "Stern".

These include spills such as paint, diesel and fires. According to the State Environment Agency, the incidents are operational disruptions, not incidents within the meaning of the Major Accidents Ordinance. Tesla rejects concerns.

The carmaker acknowledged that there have been several incidents on the factory site during construction and since commissioning. None of the incidents were incidents under the Federal Immission Control Act, and none of the incidents resulted in environmental damage, according to the company. If necessary, corrective measures have been implemented.

Tesla has been manufacturing electric cars in Grünheide since March 2022. Environmentalists and conservationists see dangers because part of the factory is located in a water protection area. Tesla has dismissed concerns. According to the company's latest figures, around 11,000 employees work at the factory in Grünheide, producing around 250,000 vehicles a year. Tesla wants to expand the plant.