Innovation drives new jobs and fresh market demand. For workers, this opportunity can provide the chance to learn new skills, but it can also cause unanticipated stress. In California, this exact sentiment is being felt by workers at the Tesla plant in nearby Fremont. Although the facility is called the "factory of the future," its workers have not been able to avoid the industry's history of stress and injury.
Since 2014, more than 100 Tesla workers have been hospitalized for stress-related conditions like fainting and chest pains while on the job, according to a new report by The Guardian. Employees cite CEO Elon Musk's ambitious production goals as the primary cause of the stress. Musk hopes the Fremont plant can produce 125,000 cars in 2018 alone. What is being done to increase production goals without increasing work-related stress?
Modified workers programs
Many injured workers can return to the workplace in a different role following employer-provided vocational rehabilitation. A similar program is offered in the Tesla plant, known as "modified work." However, some workers report being offered lower wages following an injury, which, they say, discourages reporting. Is there a way for workers to protect themselves from wage loss following an injury?
Follow the workers' compensation process
Many workers across all industries take pride in the work. Reporting an injury can feel detrimental to the company and cast doubts on the future of a career. Because workers often worry about their future job prospects following an injury, care should be taken to balance the needs of a company with the long-term prospects of personal recovery.
Here are three things employees can do after a workplace injury to protect themselves.
1. Report an injury immediately
Workers in California have up to 30 days to report an injury, but immediate, written notice can often allow the best prospects for recovery. Workers who do not report an injury right away risk making it worse, which can lengthen recovery time and delay a return to work.
2. Seek medical treatment and save paperwork
An initial diagnosis can provide an early path to recovery. Employees may be required to see a doctor of the employer's choice, but a second opinion should be sought by a personal care provider. Employees should also save paperwork related to treatment and billing following a doctor's visit.
3. Ask for help from a workers' compensation attorney
The compensation process often means confusing paperwork and strict deadlines for both the employer and the employee. A workers' compensation attorney can help employees understand the process and meet reporting deadlines. An attorney can also ensure that an employer upholds their obligations throughout the process.
As innovation continues to change the future of the industry, a workers' compensation can look out for the future career needs of employees along the way.