Rivian Automotive, a newer player in the electric vehicle (EV) market, has been making headlines for its innovative and environmentally-friendly vehicles. The company is known for its all-electric R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV, which are manufactured in its plant in Normal, Illinois. Both the R1T and the R1S SUV have garnered significant attention and pre-orders from consumers and industry experts alike. However, as the push to increase EV production ramps up, concerns have been raised about the potential for increased work injuries in the industry.
Workers in the automotive industry are already at a higher risk for injuries due to the nature of the work, which involves heavy machinery and repetitive motions. The push to increase EV production and the added pressure to meet the high demand for these vehicles can exacerbate these risks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in the motor vehicle manufacturing industry was higher than the national average for all industries in 2019.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), workers in the automotive industry, including the EV industry, are at a higher risk for musculoskeletal disorders, such as back injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome, due to the repetitive motions involved in assembling batteries and other EV components. Additionally, the use of heavy machinery and equipment can also increase the risk of workplace accidents and injuries. This can be a major concern for companies like Rivian Automotive which are expanding their production lines to meet the high demand for electric vehicles.
In addition, the push to meet production can result in the lax application of safety rules. Rivian has already had more than a dozen employees at its Normal, Illinois plant accuse the company, via a filing with federal regulators, of safety violations. The complaints allege the company ignored safety concerns, resulting in a range of injuries, including a crushed hand, a broken foot, a sliced ear, and broken ribs. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has already fined Rivian $24,000 for safety violations in 2022 alone and has 11 other pending cases underway against Rivian.
As an Illinois-based work comp and personal injury firm, we understand the importance of ensuring that workers in the EV industry are protected from these risks. We urge Rivian and other EV manufacturers to prioritize the safety of their workers by implementing safety measures, such as ergonomic workstations and regular safety training, and providing personal protective equipment and regular exposure monitoring for hazardous materials, especially as it relates to battery manufacturing. The OSHA regularly provides additional information about workplace safety and injury prevention.
It's also essential for workers to be aware of the risks and to speak up if they notice any unsafe conditions in the workplace. In case of a work injury, they should not hesitate to contact us to seek help and advice. Work comp can be complicated, so contact us if you have any work comp-related questions.
In conclusion, while the shift towards EV production is a positive step towards a more sustainable future, it's important that the safety of workers is not overlooked. We urge Rivian and other EV manufacturers to prioritize worker safety over production goals and take steps to reduce the risk of work injuries.