Tesla employees at a gigafactory in South Buffalo, NY, claim the plant is infested with bed bugs — and that management has sprayed the ability with toxic chemicals that usually are not only ineffective but in addition making them sick.
“You possibly can tell there was a scent of chemicals within the air … There was various chairs that had a residue sprayed on the back of them,” one staffer told ABC 7 WKBW of the plant, where a bed bug infestation reportedly broke out on Oct. 9.
“It was white, it looked almost like a movie on the backs of some people’s chairs and jackets, because there was no warning ahead of time.”
Employees told the outlet they were told by managers and associates that the sprayed chemical was Steri-Fab.
Based on Steri-Fab’s website, once it’s sprayed onto a surface, it needs quarter-hour to dry before it’s protected to return into contact with. Before then, it’s harmful to inhale or touch and may cause skin and eye irritation.
Employees on the 1.2 million-square-foot factory — where employees produce Tesla Solar Roof and Tesla Superchargers, and work on Tesla’s Autopilot software — said they were feeling a few of these negative effects.
“Me and a couple of co-workers’ eyes began burning, in addition they got very puffy and I began to have some respiration issues,” one Tesla staffer told WKBW.
One other worker emailed the outlet saying: “Many other employees including myself had symptoms of dizziness in addition to throat swelling, nausea and burning eyes.”
“The possibility of being around potentially toxic chemicals doesn’t make me feel comfortable,” the staffer added, noting that employees have been using their paid break day or sick days to avoid going into the office.
After WKBW published photos of the bug-infested office space, where office chairs were dotted in a white residue, one X user who said she owns a pest control company doubted Tesla’s claim that it used Steri-Fab for the bed bug infestation.
“I can guarantee that the chemical that was sprayed was not Steri-fab,” the X user who goes by Liz tweeted. “Steri-fab is basically rubbing alcohol. It will NEVER leave a white residue just like the one in the image.”
Liz also suggested that Tesla is “claiming it’s Steri-fab resulting from not following the law. For all other pesticides people need to be removed for 3 hrs, for Steri-fab it’s only 15 min because it’s rubbing alcohol and dries immediately. Any technician will tell u that pic will not be Steri-fab residue.”
Other images from the Tesla Gigafactory 2 plant in South Buffalo show the insects — which aren’t any larger than an apple seed — wedged into the carpet, while videos from the office show one among the pests crawling across the ground.
Liz identified in her tweet that “generally, you simply see one bed bug for each 100 which might be hiding that u won’t ever see. I might encourage staff to get their homes inspected on Teslas dime.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it’s received dozens of complaints from Tesla employees at this gigafactory, in keeping with WKBW.
“We will confirm that OSHA is each aware of and investigating this case,” the agency told The Post on Friday.
OSHA said it’s investigating Tesla’s protocols for using chemicals within the office, though it doesn’t have any standards for bed bugs within the workplace.
Representatives for Tesla didn’t immediately reply to The Post’s request for comment.
Based on the Latest York State Department of Health, bed bug infestations typically occur when the pests hitchhike right into a space via used furniture, purses, backpacks or other soft or upholstered items.