The Union and Company have been committed to protecting the health and safety of UAW-represented Ford employees since the beginning of their relationship. The first Collective Bargaining Agreement, in 1941, contained a health-and-safety provision. Today, the Union and Company are equal partners in the National Joint Committee on Health and Safety (NJCHS).
• Oversees joint training to heighten safety awareness, hazard recognition, and technical safety skills of the UAW- represented Ford employees; major training initiatives include: Chemical Safety Training (CST), Guidelines, Responsibilities and Safe Practices (GRASP), Energy Control and Power Lockout (ECPL), fitting jobs to people (ergonomics), Powered Material-Handling Vehicles (PMHV), lifting and rigging, working at heights, and confined space entry
• Sponsors joint conferences to provide training and education
• Stimulates interest in health and safety programs and procedures
• Evaluates the need for health and safety research, funds research projects, and communicates research findings to affected workers
The UAW-Ford Collective Bargaining Agreement furnishes extensive protection for workers. It provides, for example, periodic comprehensive training for full-time Unit Health and Safety Representatives, and funds major research projects. In addition to the National Agreement, each local agreement contains important language on health and safety matters pertaining to that location.
Joint Health and Safety conferences were initiated in 1974, and since 1984, two conferences have been conducted each year. Since 1994, an additional annual conference focusing on ergonomics has also been held. At these meetings, UAW Unit Health and Safety Representatives and Company Plant Safety Engineers attend professional development seminars that emphasize the technical training necessary for them to recognize and deal with potential causes of illnesses and accidents.
The conferences also address new health and safety equipment and procedures, and review and analyze major accidents that have occurred since the last meeting. Upcoming health and safety training programs are previewed, and participants receive information and specialized training on hazards and equipment specific to their plants.
The Unit Health and Safety Representatives and Plant Safety Engineers play an important role in the success of NJCHS-sponsored programs. These individuals ensure the effective implementation of programs at the plant level.