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Safety Concerns at Rivian's Illinois Plant

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

As one of the leading manufacturers of electric vehicles, Rivian, based right here in Normal, Illinois, has been making headlines not only for its innovative designs but also for its impact on our local economy. While the growth of companies like Rivian is undoubtedly exciting, it's important to look beyond the hype and understand all aspects of the company's operations, including safety at their manufacturing facilities.

Rivian's production facility, a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, has expanded greatly and brought thousands of jobs to the Bloomington-Normal area. This is good news for the community. However, recent reports have shed light on a number of alleged safety violations at Rivian's plant in Illinois, leading to concerns about the welfare of the workers involved in the production of these cutting-edge vehicles.

According to a report by Bloomberg, at least a dozen employees at Rivian have accused the company of safety violations at its Illinois plant, with complaints filed with federal regulators. The employees have alleged that the company overlooked known hazards and de-emphasized safety resources, which in some instances, left workers sharing respirators needed during the manufacturing process. These complaints also detail a range of injuries that include a crushed hand, a broken foot, a sliced ear, and broken ribs. One employee even claimed that management retrieved damaged electrical cables from the garbage and instructed employees to use them​. While other employees claimed that Rivian's culture deprioritizes safety.

While Rivian disputes these claims, stating that it has invested millions in safety, these reports have raised questions about the company's commitment to worker safety as it accelerates production to meet demand​.

Concerns have also been raised over the type of contractors and subcontractors that Rivian employed in its plant expansion in Illinois. Two such examples were Guangzhou Mino Equipment Co. and BIW Automotive Solution Inc., both of whom faced legal action from the Illinois Dept. of Labor and the State Attorney General’s office over unpaid wages and overtime. These companies reportedly used subcontracting agreements to deny overtime pay to workers, some of whom were working seven days a week for 60-80 hours. Ultimately, the companies agreed to pay over $700,000 in unpaid wages and civil penalties​.

While workplace safety is a complex issue, particularly in industries like automotive manufacturing where potential hazards are numerous, we believe it is crucial for both consumers and potential employees to be aware of these allegations. And as we continue to monitor the situation at Rivian's Illinois plant, we emphasize the importance of workplace safety. The need for Rivian to implement diligent safety measures to protect its workforce will only grow as does as the company grows.

If you or someone you know has experienced a workplace injury at Rivian or any other workplace, it's important to know your rights. In Illinois, workers' compensation laws protect employees who have been injured on the job, ensuring they receive proper medical care and compensation for lost wages. Our law firm specializes in personal injury and workers' compensation cases. So if you have questions regarding a workers' compensation injury, please give us a call to see how we can help.

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