CHONGQING, China — Zhang Dehu, safety manager of Changan Ford Automobile (CAF), was recently awarded a 2012 Health & Safety Professional of the Year title, part of the annual President’s Health and Safety Awards (PHSA) program.
This was the first time in 11 years that a CAF employee has won the award. The CAF safety team has won several PHSA titles for health & safety innovations in the past four years under the lead of Zhang, including “Excellence in Safety Culture and Standards” in 2011.
“It is a great honor, I am very happy,” said Zhang. “Thanks for the support of the company and Ford Asia Pacific. I am glad that our effort was recognized; now I feel the pressure as everyone will expect us to do better next time, and we will.”
Apart from the health and safety of every employee, Zhang is also responsible for the security and safety of personnel at the sites where several new CAF plants are being constructed.
After the successful construction of two assembly plants, CAF is now building a new engine plant, a transmission plant and a third assembly plant as part of Ford’s aggressive expansion plan in China. It is not hard to imagine the workload Zhang faces.
With four-years of experience in the maintenance and management of manufacturing equipment, Zhang has extensive knowledge about how to keep a safe environment at a plant. The number of major accidents, fatalities, and fires for CAF so far is zero.
Speaking of his secrets, Zhang believes safety is multifaceted and can only be achieved through a well-functioning apparatus, informed minds and regular overhauls.
“CAF is a joint venture by Changan and Ford, but we follow the Ford safety standards stringently and adopt the Ford safety culture into our own,” he said. “We have been working hard to promote the culture through training and activities that we hold on a regular basis.”
Apart from the safety culture that the company treasures as an integral part of its manufacturing process worldwide, Ford is also committed to ensure its employees overall health through the Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) program.
“Zhang Dehu winning the safety professional of the year award is a team effort within the OHS organization in CAF,” said Tom Paradiso, OHS manager, Ford Asia and Pacific, “This includes the implementation of the SOS (Safety Operating System) within the CAF manufacturing operations. His team has helped lead a transformation from a safety led OHS program, to a fully integrated safety operating system within the manufacturing system.”
When asked about challenges, Zhang admitted that they are working on a new strategy for the influx of new employees and new machinery.
“It was the first time for CAF to own engine and transmission plants. There will be a large number of new employees joining us in the near future, and these are challenges for us. I believe we can handle these by continuing to keep doing what we do now — making sure safety becomes the top priority on everyone’s mind.”
“I hope the Ford safety culture will not only play a positive role among us at it does now, but exert influence on our suppliers and contractors, even neighboring plants or companies here in Chongqing,” he added.