While You were off…

GM HEALTH & SAFETY REPORT August 2nd, 2017

First off we’d like to welcome everyone back to work who had time off for shutdown or vacation, hoping you all had a great time making memories with family and friends. As one of those who stayed behind to keep an eye on things over shutdown, we’d like to report on some of the good work that went on while you were off.

Mist collectors in HFV6 Mod 3 Block and Head underwent an incredible transformation. Every unit had its first stage helical tube filters removed and replaced. Some of them were plugged solid from years of accumulated grime. These filters were soaked in CLR, augured through to clear debris, and power washed. They are now free flowing and as good as new.   All these units also had their exhaust ducts removed and all foam sound insulation that had broken down inside was replaced. The exhaust side of the second stage filters were cleaned from the top down before the ducts were reinstalled. And finally, all 16 remaining mist collectors in HFV6 that were fed raw coolant for the primary filter wash down, have been converted to water feed and are now the same as every other unit in the plant. We should see a significant improvement in air quality, but we will continue to monitor mist collectors and work on washer ventilation improvements in Mod 3.

In Gen V Assembly, Ops 1490 / 1500 had new duct work connected to suction hoods to control nuisance odour complaints. These were placed over the racks holding open totes of rocker arms that off gas a rust inhibitor they are treated with by the supplier. Previous controls were poorly attempted by portable smog hogs placed over the assembly line, where fans were blowing the exhaust back at the team members. These new units will take the vapours to the ceiling where they will continue to rise and evaporate and should eliminate the odour.

In GF6 Prismatics, the hydromation systems A1 / A2 were dumped, cleaned and recharged over the entire 2 weeks of shut-down, to address biological growth OESN identified as fusarium. Each system had Chemcide 2 biocide circulated through the machines and drained, then each entire system was completely opened, to power wash all surfaces, tanks, filters, and behind any covers where biological growth was known to be hiding. The previous coolant was replaced with two new chemicals containing similar properties, one of them already successfully in use in Gen V Crank. The improved bio-packages these contain are expected to take care of anything remaining in the systems over the next 3-4 weeks. Moving forward on these systems, Maximo work orders have been created to inspect A1 / A2 systems and Prismatics machines at 3 month, 6 month and 1 year frequencies to check behind covers for biological growth. Chemical Control is also increasing the frequency and extending the timeline of coolant sampling and analysis for these systems. These checks will help ensure ongoing monitoring and management of the system and help to build confidence with team members.

Confidence is a fragile thing and is easily lost through poor communication. Your Union participated in many planning meetings leading up to this DCR to ensure nothing was overlooked, and every concern had some plan to address going forward. We participated with management in SOS meetings to discuss the plan with team members over all three shifts a week prior to and returned concerns to the planning meetings. After all this, rumours of biological growth found inside machines were not addressed forthright and a lack of information from management to some of the production team members came close to a work refusal. Your Union addressed these rumours alone despite requests for assistance. Please remember it is management’s duty under the law to inform workers of hazards in the workplace and we are working with them to improve this.

Unifor Health and Safety Rep Edward Steers, 905 641 6420, 905 658 3271, 7440029 email: ed.steers@gm.com

Alternate Unifor Health and Safety Rep Mike Pagano,   905 641 6420, email: mike.pagano@gm.com