Ultium Cells LLC, the battery venture jointly owned by LG Energy Solution and General Motors Co. faces a $270,000 fine after the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration found 19 violations following an explosion in March.
(Bloomberg) — Ultium Cells LLC, the battery venture jointly owned by LG Energy Solution and General Motors Co. faces a $270,000 fine after the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration found 19 violations following an explosion in March.
“OSHA inspectors found the company exposed workers to machine and chemical hazards by failing to use and train workers on safety and emergency response procedures,” the US Department of Labor said in a statement. “The agency also learned Ultium Cells did not comply with federally required safety standards for the use of personal protective equipment, including respirators.”
Ultium’s plant in Lordstown, Ohio, has been the subject of safety concerns from both state and federal inspectors as well as from the United Auto Workers union, which organized the plant in December.
In a statement Thursday, UAW President Shawn Fain said the union had been “sounding the alarm for months” on Ultium’s safety record.
“There’s a reason we’ve had strong health, safety, wage, and other standards in the auto industry for generations,” Fain said. “That’s exactly what we’re fighting for at Ultium.”
OSHA has another open inspection at the Ultium plant related to a June 27 fire and three inquiries, including a report that the company exposed workers to airborne chemicals in the cathode mixing area after a pressure gauge failed in August and caused battery chemicals to leak onto the plant floor.
A spokeswoman for Ultium said the company received a letter from OSHA listing multiple citations on Oct. 5.
“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,” spokeswoman Katie Burdette said in an email. “We look forward to a constructive dialogue with OSHA and hope to resolve these issues quickly.”
Ultium has 15 business days to comply or contest OSHA findings before fines are decided and charged. Since the Warren facility began battery cell production in August 2022, OSHA has cited the plant 11 times.
(Updates with company comment from the seventh paragraph)
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