A battery explosion in at a General Motors plant has injured two workers and forced the evacuation of 80 others, according to reports issued late last week. The two employees who sustained workplace injuries as a result of the accident have been treated and released. A small fire that occurred as a result of the blast was quickly extinguished. This type of accident is an example of an on-the-job injury that can happen to workers in the Phoenix area.
The explosion occurred earlier this month at about 8:30 a.m., according to emergency response reports. Firefighters responded to the scene shortly afterward, where they found smoke and some remaining flames in the testing room. The blast had been contained to a single room, according to official reports.
Critics of the General Motors Alternative Energy Center say that the production and distribution of the Chevrolet Volt, an electric car, is unsafe for both workers and drivers. The vehicle, which plugs in to recharge, has a backup gasoline-powered engine that is said to cause the battery to catch fire after a car accident. The fires that have been reported all occurred hours or days after a car accident involving the Volt and GM says the problem has been fixed.
Still, representatives from the automaker say that the testing process is designed to ensure the safety of the general public. They said it's better for such accidents to happen at a factory than on the road while the car is being operated by a civilian.
Although the accident deserves a proper investigation, this particular incident was not related to the fires reported earlier this year, according to GM spokespeople. The scrutiny is especially warranted because of the two workers who were injured in the blast.
Source: USA Today, "GM says battery blast at lab unrelated to Chevrolet Volt," Chris Woodyard, April 11, 2012