Improving the Employee Safety Concern Process

March 2018 Report – Improving the ESCP

In our last 3 Health and Safety reports, we have been highlighting many examples of people frustrated with the Employee Safety Concern Process. When concerns aren’t addressed or the process fails for whatever reason, this can be extremely frustrating to a person who is concerned about anything that may affect their own or their co-worker’s health and safety. Frustration when worker safety concerns are either closed without the knowledge of the worker who raised the concern, closed to the dissatisfaction of the worker, or closed when they are escalated, causing confusion; When workers are threatening to refuse because they are tired of bringing issues to their T/Ls and G/Ls and day after day nothing changes, and nothing is documented; When a worker exercises their right to refuse unsafe work, gets shut down and immediately put on notice of discipline because a personality conflict has destroyed their safety relationship with their G/L; When a worker just wants to do their job, but fear takes over that raising safety concerns or refusing unsafe work puts them in the unenviable position of being at odds with their G/L, of putting a target on your back. We have held many conversations with all levels of Management over the past few months with all these examples in mind, resulting with some improvements to the Employee Safety Concern Process. We feel these changes to the process will go a long way to addressing and eliminating a lot of frustration, including our own.

We now have a New Safety Concern form  ESCP Form (GMS-03A) where a concern raised will stay open on your Team’s Level 5 Board as it escalates through the process (if needed) until it is closed, enabling you to track the concerns progress. If it is not immediately addressed at Level 5, it will progress to Level 4 (G/L) after 7 days and if not addressed after 30 days from the date the concern was initially raised, on to Level 2 (BTM) where it will appear at the next Safety Review Board for review with the Plant Manager and other Leadership. In a new column, target dates and escalation will be tracked on the Level 5 form as it follows the process to completion.

Feedback to the employee, to close the loop with the person who opened the concern is a requirement of the Workplace Safety System, and can now be tracked in a new column on the form requiring the name of the person who provided the feedback. This is where ownership of the safety issue is important for that feedback to occur, so we are recommending that you voluntarily allow your name to be attached to the concern in a new column for your name, or your team’s name.

Lastly, above the status ball for completion, it states, “Complete only after person who raised the concern has been given feedback”. This is your opportunity to agree with the countermeasures put in place to address your concern and close the issue, or to disagree with the countermeasures. This is reinforced at the bottom of the form, where beside “complete” it clearly states the “Individual (or Team) who raised the concern has been given feedback and is satisfied concern is resolved.”  What’s new to the process is the following statement, “IF THE TEAM MEMBER/TEAM LEADER IS NOT SATISFIED WITH THE RESOLVE, THIS MUST BE ESCALATED TO THE JOINT HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEE”. With this statement we hope to encourage employee engagement and build confidence in the integrity of the process, that now gives us the opportunity to argue on your behalf to ensure the company has taken every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker to address your concern as required by law, and provide that feedback to you.

Print the ESCP Form

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