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Workers injured in Michigan GM battery lab explosion

The Chevrolet Volt and other electronic vehicles have created a demand for more high tech batteries. General Motors has recently doubled the capacity of its Global Systems Battery testing center. While this is great news for the Michigan economy and for the future employment outlook, a large explosion this week at the research campus injured a number of employees and sent at least one to the hospital. A GM spokesperson said that the injured employee is expected to recover from his injuries.

The explosion happened at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren on Wednesday morning. According to a statement from GM, chemical gasses had escaped from a battery during a test and ignited in a closed chamber causing the explosion.

The most seriously injured worker was taken to St. John's Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit with what were described as non-life threatening injuries. Another four workers were treated at the scene and about 80 workers were evacuated as smoke flowed throughout the laboratory complex.

A spokesman for the Center for Automotive Research made an interesting remark regarding the explosion that seriously injured the employee. "People need to understand that part of developing new technology is pushing it to the limits," he continued, "Stuff is going to go wrong. That's not to say it's acceptable. You're going to take your lumps." Hopefully it will not be employees who are receiving these 'lumps.'

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Worker seriously injured in blast at GM Tech Center in Warren," Nathan Bomey, April 12, 2012

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