GM’s Ultium Cells battery plant in Ohio may be facing a $270,000 fine from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) as a result of numerous safety and health violations. The agency has issued 19 safety and health violations so far, 17 of them serious, following an explosion and fire at the facility in March. The facility has been subject to multiple citations since launching production in August of 2022. The facility is operated under a joint venture between GM and LG Energy Solution
According to a report from Reuters, OSHA investigators discovered that Ultium Cells exposed workers to hazards by failing to provide training on safety and emergency response procedures, including training in hazardous energy control, and the facility was not in compliance with federal standards on personal protective equipment use. The OSHA has also issued a hazard alert letter asking Ultium Cells to voluntarily reduce accumulations of metal dust and protect employees from unsafe metal dust exposure, while saying that the facility must install machine guarding as well.
Ultium Cells says it has requested a hearing with the OSHA as “the next step in this process,” stating that it takes “safety seriously.”
The OSHA currently has a one open inspection at the Ultium facility following a fire this past June. There are three inquiries in place as well, including a report that workers were exposed to hazardous chemicals this past August following the failure of a pressure gauge, which led to a battery slurry leak. Per Reuters, the OHSA has cited the Ultium Cells facility 11 times since production began in August.
GM recently agreed to include workers at the Ultium Cells facility under the broader national labor agreement with the UAW, a move that’s considered a major win for the union. The specifics of the inclusion are not yet known, given Ultium Cells operates as a joint venture.