GENERAL MOTORS

/ interview: Leszek Grudniewski

"For over 10 years they have always offered us the very best, latest and innovative solutions"

General Motors Security Coordinator

When did GM first start operations in Poland?

GM was founded in the United States over 100 years ago, establishing a base in Poland in the 1990s as it was a promising growth market for the automotive industry. And management wasn't wrong. The office in Warsaw was the first to open, followed by a production plant in Gliwice. Additionally we have a Purchasing Centre in Romania, a Safety Coordination Centre in Austria, a European Management Centre in Germany and various other production plants in Europe.

What is the production capacity of the Gliwice plant?

Gliwice employees more than 3,000 workers (GM employs a total of 209,000 workers worldwide) and expects to produce 180,000 vehicles this year. We have barely been affected by the economic recession and we are moving forward with our expansion plans. The efficient running of the company, together with many other companies in different sectors can be seen in government statistics such as the 3.8% GDP growth for 2010.

You are the Paint Division Security Coordinator, what are your main responsibilities?

The main objectives are clear: 

  • Increasing security
  • Improving product quality
  • Maximising the number of vehicles produced
  • Developing the organisation for greater efficiency

Could you explain the first point to us a little more, security?

At GM we have developed our own Security Plan, exceeding the requirements set out by Polish law. We put all the necessary measures in place to reduce the number of work-related accidents. Our objective: no work-related accidents whatsoever. In 2009, there were 6 cases, and in 2010 just 1. Of these, 90% were due to human error. This entails training schemes for staff members to increase user awareness and, in other words, better practices for employing PPE during working hours. This task is managed by the Polish branch of the ITURRI group. We trust their knowledge regarding security, especially in appropriate product solutions to minimise risk.

What do these risks involve?

Vehicle production is primarily encompassed in four phases: Press, Bodywork, Painting and Assembly Additionally, there is a rigorous quality control phase and, of course, a well designed logistics phase to support this structure. Each phase poses different risks; the initial phases, when the product is still in its raw form, involve greater risk. Therefore, the risk of cutting yourself on the bodywork requires hand protection equipment, whilst during the painting phase, its paramount to protect the product from scratches, for example.

What is the most used piece of protection equipment in the plant?

Gloves have been the star product for the automotive industry for years. It's fair to say that the ITURRI-Poland team is an expert in this area. For over 10 years they have always offered us the very best, latest and innovative solutions. We are also working on a line of protective footwear and we hope to reach the same levels of product, service and, above all, satisfaction.