Keeping People Safe
Our Journey to
Safety—whether for customers who drive our vehicles or for employees who work in our facilities—is the responsibility of everyone at GM.
For the Road Ahead:
- Safety is the responsibility of everyone at GM. The Speak Up For Safety program gives employees, suppliers and dealers an easy way to report potential vehicle safety issues.
- Advanced driver assistance systems, such as Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist, are increasing vehicle safety by automating error-prone driving tasks.
- GM invests in partnerships and initiatives to decrease driver distraction and educate drivers, especially new drivers, on the many hazards they face when they get behind the wheel.
- Achieving zero injuries includes protecting everyone who works at GM facilities. We do this with a safety strategy that focuses on safety culture, knowledge, management systems, data and risk mitigation.
- Educating consumers on benefits of advanced safety technology options to drive greater adoption
- Addressing driving behaviors that are often beyond our control, such as driver distraction and impairment
- Continuing to cultivate and engage a global workforce who make vehicle and personal safety their top priority
Our approach to safety is seamless and comprehensive: The best way to produce safe vehicles, free of defects, is in workplaces where employees are accountable for their personal safety and the safety of those around them.
Across the company, we have made both workplace and product safety everyone’s responsibility — from our vehicles to corporate hallways to factory floors. Today, our decision-making process for safety issues includes executives at the highest levels of the company and engaged employees at every level to identify potential vehicle safety issues. Our Vice President of Global Vehicle Safety, in addition to leading our product safety organization, is accountable for developing GM’s vehicle safety systems, confirming and validating our vehicle safety performance, identifying emerging issues and conducting post-sale safety activities, including recalls.
Our Global Product Development organization includes a robust team of internal product investigators in North America who help identify and quickly resolve potential vehicle safety issues and safety forensic engineers who are responsible for early identification of potential vehicle safety issues. Meanwhile, Global Vehicle Engineering improves cross-system integration and addresses functional safety and compliance in the vehicle development process. We also employ a data analytics team to identify potential vehicle safety issues. This team merges multiple inputs — such as Speak Up For Safety (SUFS) submissions and dealer service records — to build a unique, comprehensive database. Statistical analysis and modeling identify potential issues early by linking perceived disparate issues.
Programs are in place to support a culture where safety is everyone’s responsibility. The Employee Safety Concerns Process provides a structure for employees at manufacturing sites to report potential workplace safety issues. Our SUFS program, meanwhile, is designed to give employees, suppliers and dealers an easy, consistent and unfiltered way to report potential vehicle safety issues. Through a toll-free phone number, a smartphone app, email or the SUFS website, submitters can report any potential vehicle safety risks and suggest improvements. From there, our dedicated safety team funnels employee concerns to the appropriate departments. Individuals track their submission through the review and decision process so they can learn more about the process and understand the status of their concern. Since the program’s inception, more than 29,500 concerns and/or suggestions have been logged globally by employees and dealers. To reinforce a sense of personal accountability, safety is a part of employees’ performance criteria for compensation.
By building a culture of safety, we attempt to find issues sooner and reduce the number of impacted vehicles.
Externally, GM maintains an open dialogue with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), including monthly meetings with senior agency officials, with expedited discussions as needed, covering field investigations, safety recalls and other issues. GM also participates in periodic meetings with NHTSA and other stakeholders to advance safety discussions that benefit the industry as a whole.
GM Safety & Noncompliance Recalls
New Car Assessment Program Top Performing Models
Models with 5-Star overall vehicle score or top overall rating
An aspect of vehicle safety that is quickly growing in importance is the safety of advanced driver assistance systems and automated technology in vehicles, a critical part of our vision to achieve zero crashes. While fully autonomous vehicles — those requiring no input from a human driver — are not yet in use on public roads, advanced safety innovations available today represent first steps on the road to autonomous driving. Lane Departure Warning can alert drivers when they cross a detected lane marker when driving. Lane Keep Assist takes this a step further by providing gentle steering wheel turns to help keep a vehicle from inadvertently leaving its lane. Through building block changes such as these, vehicles are increasingly aiding with routine driving tasks. This gradual transition will not only help improve safety — we believe it will increase drivers’ comfort with self-driving technology.
Global Deployment of Advanced Safety Technologies
Number of models with these technologies available or as standard equipment out of 76 total models
Forward Collision Alert
Front Pedestrian Braking
Side Blind Zone Alert
Adaptive Cruise Control
Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Safety Alert Seat
Lane Departure Warning
Forward Automatic Braking
Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking
Low Speed Forward Automatic Emergency Braking
Automatic Emergency Braking
At the same time, GM is aware of the need to increase public awareness of the risks associated with drivers becoming overly reliant on today’s vehicles to do the job of keeping them safe. Feature enhancements and increasingly sophisticated safety technologies are no replacement for safe, smart driving behavior. We continue to invest in partnerships and initiatives to decrease driver distraction and educate drivers, especially new drivers, on the many hazards that remain when they get behind the wheel. Two major focus areas of our programs are research that involves enhancing awareness of distracted driving and positively changing driver behavior to help minimize the risks from distraction. Current partnerships and initiatives include:
- DoSomething.org, with whom we partnered to launch Crash Text Dummy, a social change campaign designed to decrease the number of crashes related to texting and driving. The second campaign of the partnership is Brake It Down, designed to rally young people to share antispeeding tactics with friends.
- The PEERS Foundation, for whom we upgraded the Augmented Reality Distracted Driving Education Simulator (ARDDES). ARDDES uses augmented reality in a real vehicle to simulate the driving experience.
- Academic institutions, such as the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, whom we work with to increase understanding of driver behaviors and how to effectively measure distraction in a lab environment. The results of these collaborations have informed GM’s safety policies, infotainment and driver assistance safety innovations. Virginia Tech assisted in the development of GM’s new driver distraction lab, which is currently being used to develop and validate the next generation of infotainment features.
- The Call Me Out smartphone app, launched by Chevrolet and available to anyone with an Android phone. The app reminds new and experienced drivers to keep their eyes on the road and put their phones down while they are driving. Users are encouraged to invite friends and family to “call me out” and record a positive message to remind them to keep their hands off their phones and on the wheel.
Our workplace safety vision is to “Live Values that Return People Home Safely. Every Person. Every Site. Every Day.”
This vision is guided by our safety policy, which applies to all employees and others working at our sites, including consultants, agents, sales representatives, distributors, independent contractors, third-party suppliers who work on GM premises and contract workers when they perform work for GM.
Like product safety, we manage workplace safety at the highest levels through Monthly Operating Reviews with global functional senior leaders, including the CEO and the Global Safety Leadership Council (GSLC), which is comprised of more than 20 senior global manufacturing leaders. The GSLC determines strategic global safety direction and approves workplace safety initiatives, which are the responsibility of the GM Vice President of Workplace Safety. This senior management member also provides a bimonthly update on the safety performance of the company to the GM Board of Directors (BOD). Enterprise workplace safety risks and control initiatives are reviewed on an annual basis, and updates are provided to the BOD Risk Committee on a quarterly basis.
GM Lifesaving Rules
We Must Always:
- Use required fall hazard/prevention controls when working at heights.
- Wear seat belts.
- Ensure hazardous energies are isolated or controlled when exposed to hazardous energy or working on equipment.
We Must Never:
- Work on electrical equipment unless qualified and always use the appropriate protective equipment and tools.
- Enter a confined space without following
- proper entry procedures.
- Defeat, bypass, remove or render ineffective any safety device without authorization.
Global Workplace Safety Strategy
Our comprehensive Global Workplace Safety (GWS) strategy highlights five key focus dimensions that will enable us to achieve our vision of zero injuries. Each year, we will establish new initiatives under each of the focus areas to make progress toward this vision.
Culture Dimension: Enterprise Safety Culture
GM believes safety begins with a decision. Our vision is for each person to decide to keep themselves and their team members safe. As an example, the “invisible hand” concept sparks discussion about why people choose to take unwanted risks. This concept acknowledges the performance pressure associated with the natural human instinct to work faster and more efficiently — often at the expense of working safely. To further develop a strong safety culture, during 2019, we conducted detailed site cultural assessments at facilities in Bupyeong (Korea), São Caetano (Brazil), Ramos (Mexico), CAMI (Canada) and Milford (US) through an external company expecialized in cultural change support.
The site assessments began with a validated survey, sampling all levels and functions, asking questions about working relationships and employees’ perceptions of safety. Then, quantitative data was generated for cultural attributes that are proven to influence safety and business performance. Next, on-site focus group discussions with hourly employees, front-line leaders and support teams were conducted. Additionally, site leaders and senior manufacturing leaders were interviewed. Finally, significant time was spent in the plants observing working environments (cleanliness, lighting, temperature), workstation designs (safety controls, ergonomics) and employee behaviors (compliance to safety rules and engagement).
Survey results ranked within a 60-90 percentile range for cultural attributes, when compared to other companies who are also focused on improving their safety culture. With most areas scoring in the top quartile, results indicate that our safety environment is competitive with leading companies.
“Teamwork,” “collaborative,” “prideful,” “hard working,” “integrity” and “trust” were consistently used to describe our safety culture. In addition, we demonstrated consistent rigor around safety systems and processes.
Insights from these assessments have identified the following improvement opportunities for growth:
- alignment of Safety Review Boards to drive focus toward leading metrics, while continuing to react to lagging metrics;
- leadership skills for safe decision making and organizational safety transformation; and
- sentinel event data analysis, looking for indicators to better understand where we have risk of suffering a serious injury fatality.
Upstream decisions can impact safety incidents weeks, months and even years prior to occurrence. Based on the analysis of past significant incidents conducted by a team of specialists, our manufacturing leadership was coached on how to develop a safe decision-making mentality to continue driving the culture change at GM.
Knowledge Dimension: Hazard and Risk Identification
GM’s vision is for every person, at every site, to recognize hazards, understand risk levels and feel empowered to address safety concerns. Our people are regularly trained in basic hazard recognition, and our leaders are trained in GM’s specific risk assessment tools, like our risk profile tool and Safety Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (SFMEA) tool. Hazard recognition is also included in our training programs for new hire and summer intern programs.
Hazards identified are captured through our reporting systems, which include our employee safety concern process, safety tours and safety conversations. During 2019, 4,026 near-miss incidents and 3,245 unsafe acts and conditions were reported and addressed.
To help improve our hazard and risks identification capability, standard safety tour templates and communication materials associated with our most common hazards in GM have been developed. These common hazards include confined space, hazardous energy control, electrical, mobile equipment and pedestrian interaction and fall hazards, among others. These global checklists help our operations identify and control risks and raise awareness among leaders.
Senior leadership plays an important role in instilling safety throughout the GM culture. Workplace safety is a criterion for senior leadership performance reviews and is tied to executive compensation. Lagging and leading metrics are used to drive improvement in our corporatewide safety culture. Lagging metrics include performance in fatalities, permanent disabling injuries lost work day injuries. Leading indicators are developed by each function based on proactive initiatives to improve GM’s safety culture. These enterprisewide initiatives are broad in nature, cross functional and comprehensive in their inclusion of all people. They are categorized into four general focus areas:
Engaged Leaders: Leaders need to be “advocates” and own safety for themselves and others.
Working Safely Everywhere: Regardless of where work is performed, people will recognize hazards and choose safe decisions.
Zero Injury Mindset: A Zero Injury Mindset is demonstrated by the relentless pursuit of injury reduction through analyzing data and developing action plans to prevent reoccurrences.
Health and Wellness: Long term strategies regarding safety culture include slowly shifting focus from “serious injury reduction” to “do no harm” to “health and well-being.” This category focuses on GM’s commitment to care for everyone’s physical and emotional well-being.
As part of our end-to-end approach to safety, GM engages leaders in every function to demonstrate safe behaviors for their teams and conduct risk assessments to address potential hazards. Global Safety Week, as well as other events year-round, help leaders educate employees on safety topics.
Systems Dimension: Workplace Safety System Maturity
The WSS includes a set of tools, known as elements, designed to drive continuous improvement in safety through the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. Using the PDCA cycle changes our mindset from “tell me what you want me to get done” to “I know what I need to do, and I know how to improve upon it,” which reinforces behaviors that change the culture. The five main components of the PDCA cycle are broken down into 18 individual elements, as the graphic below indicates.
Performance standards establish the minimum global requirements to manage specific hazards common to GM sites. A subset of performance standards are technical standards, which provide additional technical details for effective implementation of a performance. The system is aligned with most management systems of international consensus standards such as OSHAS 18001 or ISO 45001 and the continuous improvement philosophy.
Our performance and technical standards include, for example, standards to manage confined space entries, electrical safety, hazardous energy control, fall hazards and pedestrian and mobile vehicle interaction. Some of these standards are also focused on having healthy working environments for our employees, like ergonomic programs, noise control and indoor air quality programs.
Ergonomically correct workspaces are a priority at manufacturing facilities around the world. All workspaces at manufacturing facilities must meet ergonomic criteria, and job positions are evaluated using screening tools like Risk Factor Checklist, Global Ergonomic Screening Tool, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Lifting Equation and the Occupational Repetitive Action tool.
We have a global standard for personal protective equipment (PPE). Everyone who visits or works on the manufacturing floor at a GM site must wear safety glasses and substantial footwear. We also have a global standard for PPE to eliminate many of the most common workplace injuries. Bump caps are required for those who work under a vehicle, in a robot cell or on a stamping press. Additional standards address specific hazards in body, casting, stamping and construction areas. Beyond PPE, we are working on general practices to eliminate sprains and strains, which make up approximately half of all injuries in GM’s North American operations. We evaluate and coach employees on various ways to approach physical tasks and deal with soreness before serious injury occurs.
Our governance oversight process for the implementation of the workplace safety system, including performance standards and technical standards, works under three levels of defense, the first being site annual self-assessments. The second level of defense is done through validations conducted by Global/Regional safety staff teams and the third level of defense is performed by independent internal safety audits conducted by General Motors Auditing services, which provide oversight to the Board of Directors.
Data Dimension: Data-Driven Decisions
Accessible, easy-to-analyze global safety data promotes data-driven decisions. A data management system is used to report, collect and analyze all safety information including incident reports, audit findings, inspections, corrective actions and risk mitigation data. Leaders evaluate injury data within their span of control and drive accountability, analysis, and data-driven decisions at all levels. At every level of the organization, we share the right information to align strategies, set aggressive goals, assess progress and course-correct as necessary to demonstrate significant improvement.
Board of Directors: Management’s efforts to improve our Safety Culture and devise appropriate risk reduction initiatives are reviewed throughout the year. Global injury data for the most significant injury types (e.g., fatalities, permanent disabling injuries, and lost workday cases) is shared to evaluate the effectiveness of our overall Global Workplace Safety Strategy.
CEO and Senior Leader Team: The Senior Leadership Team (“SLT”) is personally leading safety improvement initiatives to improve our culture and reduce injuries. In addition to the data reviewed by the Board, injury data is segregated by region, sector, and function to drive accountability and ensure proper evaluation of safety initiatives with course correction as necessary. Trend analysis is conducted for all significant injuries, while permanent disabling injuries and hospitalizations are discussed in depth. The SLT sets aggressive goals in order for progress to be made toward significant year-over-year improvement.
Regional and Functional Leaders: Regional and functional leaders are provided more detailed injury data and information to successfully lead change in their area of responsibility. In addition to the information provided to the SLT, the regional and functional leaders analyze injury data by both number and hours worked to identify significant trends or outliers. Metrics are also tracked to connect business plan initiatives to injury results.
Site Teams: Every Site Team across the globe has specific safety performance goals that support global commitments. Sites analyze their injury data in depth, evaluating injury rates, injury types, and body parts affected. In addition to all the data shared at each level of the Company, incident data, such as near misses and first aid visits, is used to develop additional leading metrics. Sites utilize the Workplace Safety System to drive continuous improvement.
Risk Mitigation Dimension: Safety Contract Management
We aspire to do business with companies that share the same commitment to returning people home safely. Historically, most fatalities and severe injuries suffered on GM sites have involved contractors. Today, our scope of safety contract management includes all contractors and service providers who perform work for us. Globally, all new contracts now include contractual terms and conditions that clearly outline GM’s safety requirements. We host safety contract management key contractors symposiums to directly engage contractors in our safety requirements. Also, along with the purchasing team, we manage a cross-functional safety council with major contractors
Lost Work Day Rate – Employees
Number of lost workday injuries and illnesses per 1,000,000 work hours.
This KPI focuses on those injuries and illnesses that resulted in employees’ losing days from work. This helps us identify areas and processes where we should center our focus to improve our safety controls.
A work-related incident resulting in death.
Our target is zero, so that every person who enters a GM facility leaves safe and unharmed.
Recordable Incident Rate
Number of incidents that resulted in injuries or illnesses that required medical treatment beyond simple first aid treatment per 1,000,000 work hours.
This metric helps to identify hazards, eliminate risks and drive reporting for all incidents so that we can learn and assess areas for improvement.
Lost Work Day Rate – Contractors
Number of lost workday injuries and illnesses per 1,000,000 work hours.
Sentinel Events Proactive
Percent of Sentinel Events (any event with the potential to generate a serious injury or fatality) detected as Unsafe Acts/Conditions and that did not result in an incident.