A General Motors (GM) battery plant in Ohio is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) due to several alleged health and safety violations that would cost the company more than a quarter of a million dollars in penalties, the Detroit Free Press reports.
OSHA announced today that it would be investigating the cause behind an explosion and fire at the Ultium Cells LLC factory in Warren, Ohio, that took place this past March.
The facility is a joint venture between GM and LG Energy Solution and produces batteries for GM's electric vehicles. Battery cell production at the plant began in August 2022. Since then, OSHA has cited the plant 11 times.
OSHA opened four separate inspections between April 24 and May 5, and in less than two weeks discovered 19 safety and health violations. The plant is now being cited for 17 serious and two other-than-serious safety and health violations.
The company was found to have failed in fulfilling several obligations it has for its employees, including but not limited to: providing respiratory protection from exposure to hazardous chemicals; storing chemicals in labeled containers; providing eye wash stations, emergency showers, and hand protection; and allowing an employee to freely report an injury.
OSHA is looking to fine the company $270,091 in penalties and issued a hazard alert letter warning that the company must reduce its employees’ exposure to metal dust.
United Auto Workers (UAW) recently unionized the Ultium Cells factory and has spoken about unsafe conditions in the facility as recently as this past summer.
“This is dangerous work that deserves to be compensated well,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “There’s a reason we’ve had strong health, safety, wage, and other standards in the auto industry for generations. That’s exactly what we’re fighting for at Ultium.”