Following up on ESCP

Feb 2018  Following up on ESCP

We have been involved with a number of ESCP follow-ups, where worker safety concerns were either closed without the knowledge of the worker who raised the concern, or were closed to the dissatisfaction of the employee. The plant policy for Employee Engagement 3.3 states that the closure of Employee Safety Concerns (ESC) starts and ends with the originating individual or team, and that employee safety concerns are reviewed at Start of Shift (SOS) meetings to “close the loop” with the originating employee or team. These requirements provide you and your team’s opportunities to agree with the proposed countermeasures or argue for more to be done. Our job as your Reps is to help this process using all of the tools we have at our disposal to argue on your behalf, exhausting the Internal Responsibility System before engaging the Ministry of Labour as a last resort for resolution. When followed, the process is effective since the Company has the duty under the law, OHSAct Sec. 25 (2)(h) to “take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker” – this means short of bankruptcy. The key to this process is following up employee safety concerns.

Every issue that comes to our attention is documented, so we can track the history of the issue. Some issues are resolved purely through the ESCP to the satisfaction of all concerned. Some issues are more difficult to resolve taking much more time and resources, often requiring the involvement of one of the various plant committees formed to deal with these issues. Comments we made in the January Plant Safety Review Board (SRB) where we expressed our frustration over the lack of progress we witnessed on a couple of complex issues resulted in our being invited to discuss these issues with Senior Management to help facilitate a resolution, and we appreciate the opportunity. We will be taking regular advantage of this invitation and we have already discussed some issues that have been on our JHSC minutes for over a year.

Energy Control Layout Updates mentioned in the Start of Shift message Tuesday Feb. 6 is an example of one such issue currently with the Energy Control Committee. We began working on this employee safety concern in August 2016, and were able to successfully argue that not only hazardous energy sources but all energy sources including low-pressure coolant, which is a chemical, as well as city water, needed to be identified on ECLs with the isolation points tagged on the machines. This argument was supported by GM Global performance and technical standards for hazardous energy control and lockout energy control placards, as well as a number of examples of ECLs from other plants that showed the inclusion of these energy sources. As does any other energy source listed on an ECL, these are now considered applicable energy sources and will have to be locked out if work is being done on that part of the machine. The tradeoff is they will now be easier to identify. The significance of winning this argument is the number of ECLs (1200) plant wide that need to be updated as well as the resources required to accomplish this. We have agreed to allow a pace of one hundred per month over the course of 2018, and we expect management to make you aware of any changes to ECLs in your areas as these changes are rolled out throughout the year.

Washed Cut Resistant Gloves has been a concern we keep hearing about. Recycling gloves has been a cost cutting initiative the company has used for a number of years. Over one hundred and twelve thousand gloves were recycled in 2015 and 2016. The vendor sorts gloves to corresponding pairs by size, after every wash and removes any compromised gloves while doing visual search for foreign objects. Average expectations are 3-5 wash cycles per glove. Gloves are to be recycled only from assembly operations, not machining. If anyone encounters a washed glove that has obviously poor quality or compromised integrity from too many washes, please set them aside and contact us. If anyone encounters a sliver inside a washed glove, notify us at once.

A Cross Training opportunity in Gen V maintenance for Ed Steers has allowed Mike Pagano to be up as Health and Safety Rep every other week until the end of June. This will enable Steers to work on the tools on the weekend after amalgamation in Sept. This will also provide Mike as Alternate Rep with the time, training and experience needed to become an even more effective Health and Safety Rep. There is strength in numbers and two is better than one and another one. Thanks also to Kevan Anderson for providing excellent representation, stepping up to fill in for us when our absence is needed. We make an excellent team.

Changes in the plant, to processes, jobs, and areas happen daily and affect most of us, and with most change come resistance to change. If you are being asked to change, take the time you require to do your job safely.

Unifor Health and Safety Rep Edward Steers, 905 641 6420, Cell/Text 905 658 3271, ed.steers@gm.com
Alternate Unifor Health and Safety Rep Mike Pagano,   905 641 6420, PTT 7440029, mike.pagano@gm.com