Home / Tech / A Tesla employee died at the Gigafactory earlier this month — and the investigation is ongoing (TSLA)

A Tesla employee died at the Gigafactory earlier this month — and the investigation is ongoing (TSLA)

tesla gigafactory

  • A Tesla employee was found dead at the Gigafactory earlier this month.
  • The investigation into his death is ongoing, but law enforcement officials told Business Insider it appears to be medical in nature.
  • “We have been deeply saddened by this incident, and our thoughts continue to be with our employee’s family. While we are still awaiting the autopsy report, we have initiated an investigation with law enforcement agencies and have no reason to believe that the incident was caused by anything related to this employee’s work. In the meantime, we are doing everything we can to support our employees and the family through an extremely difficult time,” a Tesla spokesperson told Business Insider. 
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A Tesla employee was found dead at the Gigafactory earlier this month, Tesla has confirmed. 

Michael Johnston, 61, was found dead on the third floor of the Gigafactory on Monday, July 22nd, the Storey County Police Department told Business Insider. Law enforcement was called at 5:47 am PT. 

The Storey County Police Department is still investigating the matter, but so far officials say the death appears to have been medical in nature. 

“We have been deeply saddened by this incident, and our thoughts continue to be with our employee’s family. While we are still awaiting the autopsy report, we have initiated an investigation with law enforcement agencies and have no reason to believe that the incident was caused by anything related to this employee’s work,” Tesla said in a statement to Business Insider.  “In the meantime, we are doing everything we can to support our employees and the family through an extremely difficult time.”

Tesla also said that the company’s investigation of the area did not find any hazards present in the area where the incident occurred.

The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said in an email to Business Insider this matter is currently under investigation, and that it was “properly notified of the event by the employer.” 

Tesla has faced criticism in the past for safety conditions at its factories. Tesla employees spent double the amount of time out of work for illness or injury last year than they did the year before, according to the OSHA.

California’s OSHA has opened multiple investigations into safety violations at the company’s Fremont, California plant. Tesla was hit with a $30,000 fine in January for violating six different California labor regulations with the construction of its production tent. 

At the time, Tesla said that “The OSHA inspection did not result from any incident or injury and occurred during the construction phase of the project.” The company also said it would challenge the agency’s findings regarding safety violations during the construction of its production tent. 

Reveal reported in June 2018 that Tesla had fired employees for reporting unsafe working conditions and that it belatedly adds injuries to its official company logs. Tesla denied that it has misreported workplace injuries.

Some Tesla workers have pushed to unionize, but CEO Elon Musk has said in May 2018 the United Auto Workers union “does not share our mission.”

If you have any information about working conditions at Tesla you would like to share contact this reporter at llopez@businessinsider.com

SEE ALSO: Tesla employees describe what it’s like to work in the gigantic Gigafactory

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