Ultium Cells, the joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution that manufactures electric vehicle battery cells, is facing up to $270,000 in fines after investigators from the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found several violations at the company’s factory in Warren, Ohio.
Federal investigators looking into the cause of a March explosion and fire at the plant found 17 serious violations and two other violations that affect job safety and health, according to Automotive News, leading OSHA to cite Ultium Cells for the aforementioned findings.
Additionally, the EV battery joint venture did not comply with federal safety standards for the use of personal protective equipment, including respirators. Ultium Cells “exposed workers to machine and chemical hazards by failing to use and train workers on safety and emergency response procedures,” OSHA said in a statement.
The agency issued a hazard alert letter to the company, asking it to voluntarily reduce the buildup of metal dust and protect workers from dust exposure. It’s worth noting that the incident OSHA refers to is different from the chemical spill that occurred in August.
A representative from the cell maker said that a hearing with the federal agency was requested and that they are working closely with officials as well as union leaders to comply with regulations.
Gallery: Ultium Cells LLC Battery Plant in Lordstown, Ohio
"Our commitment to safety is paramount, and we make it a point to work closely and collaboratively with state and federal officials, as well as our local union leadership, to ensure we are operating in accordance with all relevant regulations," Ultium spokesperson Katie Burdette said in a statement.
"We take safety seriously and have requested a hearing with OSHA, which is the next step in this process," she added. "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."
In August, members of the United Automobile Workers union voted to get their wages increased by $3 to $4 an hour, resulting in a starting hourly pay of $20.50.