"Tesla Gigafactory Workers Allege Bed Bug Infestation and Health Issues from Toxic Chemicals"
Workers at a Tesla gigafactory in South Buffalo, NY, are raising concerns about a reported bed bug infestation, coupled with the use of allegedly toxic chemicals by management. According to ABC 7 WKBW, employees describe a troubling scene, noting a distinct chemical odor in the air and a residue on chairs and jackets, all without prior warning.
The bed bug issue reportedly surfaced on October 9, prompting management to use a chemical identified by some workers as Steri-Fab. However, this choice has raised eyebrows, as Steri-Fab typically requires 15 minutes to dry after application before it is considered safe to touch. Workers claim that the substance caused skin and eye irritation and, in some cases, respiratory issues.
Employees at the 1.2 million-square-foot factory, responsible for producing Tesla Solar Roof, Tesla Superchargers, and working on Tesla's Autopilot software, have reported symptoms such as burning eyes, puffiness, dizziness, throat swelling, nausea, and breathing difficulties. Some express discomfort with the potential exposure to harmful chemicals, prompting the use of paid time off or sick days to avoid the workplace.
After WKBW released photos of bug-infested office spaces with chairs covered in a white residue, doubts were cast on Tesla's use of Steri-Fab. A pest control company owner on social media challenged the claim, stating that Steri-Fab, being similar to rubbing alcohol, would not leave a white residue.
The situation has prompted frustration among Tesla employees, some of whom are reaching out to WKBW for assistance. As the controversy unfolds, questions linger about the handling of the bed bug infestation and the potential health risks associated with the chemicals used in the facility.
Liz, a skeptic of Tesla's claim to have used Steri-Fab, suggests that the company may be using the rubbing alcohol-based solution to circumvent legal requirements. She points out that while most pesticides necessitate a three-hour evacuation period, Steri-Fab, with its rapid drying time, only requires 15 minutes. Liz asserts that the residue visible in the provided pictures does not align with Steri-Fab characteristics, a sentiment echoed by technicians familiar with the substance.
Additional images from Tesla Gigafactory 2 reveal the bed bugs, no larger than an apple seed, embedded in the carpet. Disturbing videos from the office capture the pests crawling across the floor. Liz's tweet emphasizes that for every visible bed bug, approximately 100 others remain hidden. She urges staff to have their homes inspected at Tesla's expense.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reportedly received numerous complaints from Tesla workers at the gigafactory and is actively investigating the situation. While OSHA is scrutinizing Tesla's chemical usage protocols, it clarifies that there are no existing standards for bed bugs in the workplace.
As of now, representatives from Tesla have not responded to requests for comment from The Post. Meanwhile, the New York State Department of Health notes that bed bug infestations typically occur when these pests hitchhike into a space through used furniture, purses, backpacks, or other soft and upholstered items. The unfolding investigation raises questions about Tesla's handling of the situation and adherence to safety regulations, both chemical-related and concerning the reported bed bug infestation.
In conclusion, the situation at Tesla Gigafactory 2 in South Buffalo, NY, is evolving into a concerning scenario involving not only a reported bed bug infestation but also allegations of inadequate chemical handling. Liz's skepticism about Tesla's use of Steri-Fab suggests potential legal maneuvering, raising questions about the company's adherence to evacuation protocols. The images and videos depicting bed bugs in the facility and the disputed residue add a troubling dimension to the employees' complaints.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's active investigation indicates a serious concern, with dozens of complaints from Tesla workers. OSHA's scrutiny extends to Tesla's chemical usage protocols, emphasizing the need for a thorough examination of workplace safety practices.
As Tesla remains silent in response to media inquiries, the investigation also sheds light on the absence of specific workplace standards for bed bugs. The New York State Department of Health's insight into common causes of bed bug infestations underscores the need for a comprehensive review of Tesla's facility management practices.
In the coming days, the unfolding events at Tesla Gigafactory 2 will likely prompt further discussions about worker safety, chemical handling procedures, and the overall responsibility of companies to provide a secure and healthy working environment for their employees.