NUMMI and Worker Health


Inside Bay Area – IBA – Alameda Times-Star – Home

Here's a pretty glowing article about how NUMMI, the Toyota/GM joint venture plant in Fremont CA, focuses on employee health and safety. When I visited NUMMI last year, one of our hosts, a GM employee, was pretty sour on Toyota and claimed that GM did a much better job on safety. That sounded like sour grapes to me.

That said, Toyota gets pretty overwhelming positive press in the news. I'm certainly a fan of Toyota, but this article reads like a press release. It's sad that GM is constantly being beat up on the front page of the WSJ almost weekly.

What do you think? Is Toyota really that good on health and safety? Does the press take it easy on them, or are they just reporting a good example that we should all follow?

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Here @ Nummi,(Toyota / G/M joint venture) safety is the overriding priority. Ergonomics is actually a science where every element of the job is rated on forces necessary to perform the required work. Air circulators are installed for every operation. The old G/M did not have an ergo task force, air circulators, etc.

  2. This is one area where GM has taken the lead. In the past 10 years there has been a significant effort to improve the overall health and safety of all employees. The first goal was to be the best in the industry and now is to be the best of any industry. Look up the Gov’t reports and you will see that Toyota is FAR behind in this area. GM has learned alot from Toyota about focusing on a problem, understanding it completely, driving out the variation and continually finding ways to improve.

    Meetings start with a Safety review. Plants get measured on their safety performance. It is taken very seriously.

    To Anonymous: This is not the old GM.


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