US says it found health and safety violations at a GM joint venture battery plant in Ohio

Oct 12, 2023, 3:02 PM

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. Labor Department said Thursday that investigators found 19 safety and health violations at a General Motors joint venture electric vehicle battery plant in Ohio during a two-week period this year.

The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed fining Ultium Cells LLC $270,091 for the alleged violations at a recently opened factory in Warren, Ohio.

The plant, a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution, started making battery cells in 2021.

The Labor Department said inspectors found that Ultium Cells didn’t comply with federal safety standards for use of personal protective equipment including respirators. They also found that the company didn’t install guards on machines or train workers in procedures to control hazardous energy, and it failed to provide eye wash stations, emergency showers and hand protection, among other violations.

“Ultium Cells’ technology and advanced manufacturing facilities are part of a new and emerging field, but workplace safety standards — such as machine guarding, personal protective equipment and emergency response training — have been the law for decades,” OSHA Cleveland Area Director Howard Eberts said in the statement.

The agency says Ultium Cells has 15 business days from the date it received the citations to comply, request an informal conference or contest the findings with an independent commission.

Ultium Cells said in a statement Thursday that it requested a hearing with OSHA. “We look forward to a constructive dialogue with OSHA and hope to resolve these issues quickly and reinforce our commitment to fostering a safety-first mindset among all Ultium team members,” the company said.

Authorities began investigating the plant after an explosion and fire in March. It did four inspections between April 24 and May 5, the statement said.

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US says it found health and safety violations at a GM joint venture battery plant in Ohio