GM Health & Safety Reports – 2023

 Health and Safety Report – November 2023

Controlling Machine Leaks and Slippery Floors

Puddles that create slipping hazards on the shop floor have been a chronic perennial safety concern at STCPP, and the unfortunate nature of a machining plant is most machines will leak a variety of substances for a variety of reasons (See H&S Report Frustration with the ESCP – Oct 2017 for more details).

This past July, the General Motors Auditing Service (GMAS) made a surprise visit to the Plant to conduct an extensive audit to ensure the Plant is following GM and regulatory requirements. One of their 28 findings was for potential slip hazards due to excess oil on the floor discovered in 5 randomly observed areas, contrary to Ontario OHSA Reg. 851 S.11 and STCPP PS9 Section 2.2, Sub-section 2.1 requirements. A Corrective Action Plan (CAP) was initiated in Intelex for all GMAS Audit findings, with an Action Item (AI_225024) specifically for the oily floors. Corrective actions focused on reinforcing the use of the ESCP, and PMP process to report, capture and repair leaks.

Follow up to our Oct 2017 Report, the Plant has taken steps to improve the Employee Safety Concern Process in all areas, using the process to capture and track leaks that cannot be addressed on shift on the Level 5 board. Issues are escalated, machines are scheduled down and maintenance and engineering are investigating and repairing problem machines. However, this can be a lengthy process, so as we wait for the leak to be repaired what are we expected to do when we encounter a slippery floor around a machine in our work area?

Plant floor operations over the years have created a culture where we call KFM for everything, to come clean up our floors. Problem is, the KFM service contract pays them for maintaining between the yellow lines of the aisles of the Plant, and their manpower reflects this. KFM will respond to requests for assistance when their staff is available, especially for issues too big to control with mops and buckets or for incident spills larger than 15 square feet that require a pumper. However, it is the Business Teams who are responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the floors in their own areas, and to immediately address and mitigate slip, trip, and fall hazards on slippery, oily floors that workers may encounter doing their jobs.

The company has acknowledged their responsibility and have purchased walk behind “Zambonis” for the Gen V and GF6 machining departments. T/Ms must now be trained on their use and maintenance and be assigned and given the time to use them, in addition to their present duties. And there’s the “rub”. Keeping our floors clean is not a 10-minute job for one person who is also expected to run a footprint following all the requirements contained in their standardized work. We will be having more discussions on that issue.

Re-tooling HFV6 and GF6 for BEV3

This next year will be a challenge as the plant undergoes the extremely necessary process of removal of old and installation of new equipment, to provide us all with a working future. Unfortunately, this is the cyclic nature of the automotive business, and some of us have experienced it many times during our careers. We want to acknowledge that some people will experience pain during this retooling process, but we also want to reassure them this pain will be short term, and they won’t be forgotten by those who remain working.

The Union will be working jointly with the Company during this process, to ensure the new jobs are safe, and to keep you informed when we can of the projects progress and projected timelines for return to work.


Unifor Health and Safety Rep Edward Steers, 905 641 6420, Cell/Text 905 658 3271

Unifor Health and Safety Rep Richard Piper 905 641 6505, Cell/Text 289 228 7126

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Health and Safety Report – May 2023

Metal Removal Fluid Medical Surveillance Program

 The Metal Removal Fluid (MRF) Medical Surveillance program for our Plant is being offered on a voluntary basis to eligible St. Catharines Propulsion Plant team members who regularly work in or have worked with machining fluids in the past. This medical evaluation exam consists primarily of a questionnaire to review signs or symptoms of respiratory and/or dermal conditions that may be associated with occupational exposure to metal removal fluids, in accordance with GM Medical Policy 6.7. Your responses to the questionnaire will be reviewed by Plant Medical to determine next steps, if needed, and results will be placed in your medical file.

Results that are placed in your medical file are private and confidential, and they are not shared with the Company. In fact, this applies to any information gathered by Plant Medical during any of the medical evaluations they conduct to ensure we are medically fit to safely perform certain tasks, such as drive a lift truck. Plant Medical only shares with the Company if required by GM Medical Policy, and only their conclusion of the evaluation that we are medically fit, medically fit with restrictions, or medically unfit to perform the task. That is not the case here, unless someone is deemed medically fit but in need of restrictions.

The MRF Medical Evaluation was negotiated by the Union in 2020. We asked for this, not the Company. We fought for four years for this medical evaluation, because Public Medical Professionals may find it difficult to determine work relatedness of the symptoms of MRF exposure unless occupational disease is linked back to workplace exposures. Respiratory symptoms can be attributed to a multitude of conditions, both occupational and non-occupational, especially now that we are living with COVID-19.  While we work within and below the agreed Occupational Exposure Limits following GM Performance Standards for MRF, if you are working with or have worked with MRF in the past, it is important to have any respiratory symptoms documented properly.

The goal of monitoring symptoms annually is two-fold. Firstly, annual evaluations that are documented can be reviewed and tracked if symptoms appear or worsen, and we may be advised by Plant Medical to seek outside medical treatment. A worst-case scenario is where we may be evaluated by the Plant Medical Doctor and deemed medically fit with restrictions, but this may ultimately help alleviate symptoms by moving us to a different job with lower exposure. As OHCOW Occupational Hygienist John Oudyk writes, “The nature of these exposures is that most of the ill health effects are acute and will resolve once exposure to MRF has stopped.”

Secondly, the Union’s goal of linking our occupational exposure to symptoms is to provide an incentive to the Company to maintain our plant MRF exposure to levels that are low enough that we are not experiencing symptoms. This will ultimately help us improve air quality for the plant as our employer wants to keep WSIB costs low while also taking all reasonable precautions for the health and safety of its workers.

Starting April 24, 2023, eligible workers will be offered an opportunity to enroll or decline participation in the program. Forms must be picked up from, and returned to, Plant Medical no later than May 12, 2023.    You must arrange your own appointment with Plant Medical by phone, email or in person, and you must inform your Group Leader of your scheduled appointment.

This is a voluntary program that has been used in UAW plants since 1996. We asked for it, we support it and we strongly encourage you to participate. Please contact us with any concerns or questions you may have.


Unifor Health and Safety Rep Edward Steers 905 641 6420, Cell/Text 905 658 3271,
Alt Unifor Health and Safety Rep Richard Piper 905 641 6505, Cell/Text 289 228 7126,

Click here for printable version


Health and Safety Report – April 2023

April 28, 2023 National Day of Mourning

Observed annually in Canada on April 28, the National Day of Mourning is dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives due to a workplace tragedy or suffered or experienced a work-related injury or illness on the job. It is also a day to collectively renew our commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace and prevent further injuries, illnesses, and deaths.

Throughout its long history, due to its nature as a large scale heavy industrial workplace General Motors St. Catharines has experienced work-related fatalities, injuries, and illnesses.  Among numerous others were the tragic fatality of Joel Murray in 1998, the recent tragic fatality of Dan Sevcik in 2021, and more recently, the critical injury of another skilled worker, David Joseph this past January.

After last year’s Day of Mourning, Plant Leadership approached the Union seeking our input regarding their desire to purchase a monument for the site, as a stark daily visual reminder of the importance of safety, to our workplace culture, and to our families. To remind us all, hourly, salary and contract workers, of General Motors safety vision; To live values that return people home safely. Every person. Every site. Every day. Dedicated in memory of all workers who have been killed or disabled by injury or disease in the workplace. We agreed, and the result of that collaboration (above left) now rests outside the West clock house entrance.

The Sevcik and Joseph families will participate in the National Day of Mourning on April 28, by coming to our plant during the morning and afternoon shift changes to hand out WSIB ribbon stickers to help us reflect on the significance of the National Day of Mourning for all workers and their families. The families will be in the West clock house for anyone who wishes to come say hello and pay their respects.

There will be a brief ceremony at the monument for the 11:00am observance of a moment of silence, in addition to the contractual Plant P/A system observance of a moment of silence.

Oct 22, 2021, Fatality Investigation & JHSC Recommendations Update

The 6 of 24 remaining open Joint Health and Safety Committee written recommendations to the Company regarding the fatality that occurred at our Plant, have now been closed with the help of Plant Leadership. All 24 Oct. 22, 2021, JHSC recommendations are now closed.

(I.)(A)(2.)Comau Urane Energy Control Layouts and Gravity Requirements. Review manufacturer’s Y-Axis Gravity requirements on Gen V and GF6 Urane machines. Ensure this is a safe process and make consistent across departments if possible. Update ECLs with standard Gen V and GF6 Urane machine gravity requirements. Ensure gravity devices are available in designated storage location.

Management Response: ECLs on Uranes in Gen V and GF6 are now common. Lanhack Engineering designed a proper common gravity blocking device and were fabricated in-house. Reviewed and approved a common practice of installing and removing the Urane Y-Axis G1 Gravity Block. Reviewed and approved PS2-SOP-03 Urane CB Cylinder Replacement – Revised to add requirements of TIS.

(III.)STCPP use of 3.6 Safe Work Practices Global SOT. STCPP to adopt WSS 3.6 Safe Work Practices Global SOT to annually audit maintenance activities. SOT to check PTSPs are completed as required Maintenance standardized work being followed.

All STCPP Maintenance Employees to receive comprehensive training for how to find path to Maintenance standardized work.

Management Response: Implement a modified version of WSS 3.6 Safe Work Practices Global SOT to be plant-wide twice pre year. Go and See added to PTSP for all high-risk tasks. JIT (Yellow Card) applies for all Skilled Trades. All Skilled Trades workers received tablets. Two TIS created for Trades to find standardized work. Second column added to skill versatility chart which relates to finding job instructions. One-on-one training by GL/Planner/SL to Trades for monthly updating the SVC.

(VI.)(B) STCPP Training and Communication. Upgrade STCPP Skilled Trades Employees and Maintenance Managers Training on High-Risk Tasks and Hazard Recognition. Deliver through a Skilled Trades specific safety talk.

Management Response: Created training presentation based on LMS #55579. Reviewed and revised with JHSC feedback. T3 Area Managers and Shift Leaders trained Group Leaders and Team Members through specific Safety Talk. Tracking through CTIS# and included in New Hire Orientation training.

(IX.)(A) Review feasibility of retrofitting all Comau Urane and SmartDrive machines with Counterbalance Cylinder rod locks as per new era OP 70 A & B 700XL SmartDrive machines.

Management Response: A cross-functional team (Central Manufacturing Safety, Central Manufacturing Engineering, and Comau) reviewed the feasibility of this recommendation and it will not be implemented for these reasons:

  1. The STC Comau Urane and SmartDrive machines met the safety requirements as laid out in Global Design for Health and Safety (G-DHS) at the time of purchase without a Y-Axis counterbalance cylinder rod lock.
  2. The STC Comau Urane machines, which were manufactured prior to 2014, do not have a means to retrofit a rod lock to the Y-Axis counterbalance without extensive machine rework, if at all.
  3. The addition of a rod lock to a Comau Urane or SmartDrive machine does not eliminate the risk of stored pneumatic energy in the machine when hazardous energy has not been controlled.

Additionally, the Comau Y-Axis Cylinder Replacement task has been added to the current STC Hazard and Risk Inventory (HRI) as a specific High-Risk Task requiring the use of a Safe Operating Procedure, a Pre-Task Safety Plan (PTSP) and management approval.

(XII.)(XIII.) Ensure all Comau Urane Maximo Job plans are common in GF6 and Gen V.

Management Response: Total “Urane” Job Plans were reduced to 143, of which 41 are specific to Urane (35) ONLY. One (1) Urane (25) Job Plan has been identified as specific to GF6. Two (2) Urane (25) Job Plans have been identified as Specific to Gen V – due to style of gantry. A total of 99 Job Plans were identified as common between the 2 departments and corrected in Maximo to reflect such.

On April 4, 2023, the JHSC presented 6 written recommendations to the Company regarding the critical injury that occurred at our Plant on Jan. 24, 2023. We expect a written response by April 25, 2023. These recommendations are tracked to closure on the JHSC minutes posted in each clock house and we will continue to report closure of these additional recommendations at Plant SRB and future H&S reports. Any questions please contact us.

Unifor Health and Safety Rep Edward Steers 905 641 6420, Cell/Text 905 658 3271,
Alt Unifor Health and Safety Rep Richard Piper 905 641 6505, Cell/Text 289 228 7126,

Click for printable version