Rivian Automotive, a manufacturer of electric vehicles, is facing scrutiny after at least a dozen of its workers have filed complaints with OSHA over the company’s safety practices at an Illinois plant.
The workers claim “the company ignored known hazards and deprioritized safety resources, leaving some workers to share respirators needed during the manufacturing process,” according to Fortune.
Other complaints detail a variety of injuries, including:
- a crushed hand
- a broken foot
- a sliced ear, and
- broken ribs.
‘Safety faded as production pressures grew’
The workers claim the company’s safety protocols “faded as production pressures grew on its trademark plug-in pickup truck.”
Rivian disputed the allegations, saying the employees who made the complaints represent a small fraction of the 6,700 workers at the Illinois plant.
Those 12 employees filed their complaints in coordination with the United Auto Workers union, which has been trying to organize the Illinois plant’s workers, Fortune said. A few workers claimed they went to management about their concerns before filing the OSHA complaints, but nothing changed.
Some of the complaints involved “many near misses” with powered industrial trucks almost hitting pedestrians or racks. One complaint describes sensors on the trucks that gave false readings due to calibrations that didn’t include the height of the vehicle.
Company claims TRIR is lower than industry average
OSHA acknowledged that it does have several open investigations at the plant. The agency previously issued four serious citations against Rivian, including three from early 2022 that ended in settlements.
Rivian claims its Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) is 2.5 cases for every 200,000 hours worked, which is less than the industry average of 6.4 cases. The company claims the data shows its safety performance is improving, with its incident rate dropping 44% since January.
The company has spent millions of dollars on safety and has a team of more than 70 safety and health professionals, a spokesperson told Fortune.