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Our greatest asset is the Southwire family, and we can proudly say that multiple generations work for us. Our heritage as a family-owned company inspires us to treat our employees like family and contribute to their overall physical and emotional well-being. Healthy workers are essential to maintaining our competitive advantage and an attractive culture. Southwire’s employees differentiate us from the competition by ensuring we consistently deliver the best quality product to our customers in a timely manner. Well-being goes beyond the ties to human resources as it is connected to Southwire’s organizational strategy and planning. We know that well-being creates the capacity to execute our strategy, allows us to adjust to change faster, better and more efficiently than our competitors and creates an environment that enables our employees to thrive. When our employees are safe, healthy and engaged, Southwire performs best.

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Southwire manages safety and health as a matter of principle—the well-being of employees and contractors matters most. Effectively managing workplace safety and health risks and encouraging employees and contractors to take responsibility for their well-being—and that of their coworkers—improves working conditions which, in turn, protects our workers’ quality of life. We use a wide range of initiatives, governance mechanisms, policies, systems and training to continually improve our safety and health performance, always with the goal of zero injuries in mind.

Workplace Safety

Southwire’s Continuum to Best in Class

Safety is core to our culture, and we established a goal to achieve best in class safety performance at Southwire (see progress below). To achieve excellence, we established an environmental, health and safety (EHS) continuum to help our leaders advance the organization’s safety culture and performance—from reactive to proactive, then to systems-based, and to the ultimate goal of being world-class. Recognizing that each Southwire location is at a different place on the continuum, this strategy allows the locations to gauge the effectiveness of their safety management system. The continuum plays a key role in EHS planning processes, serving as a tool for identifying areas that require improvement. This forward-looking approach highlights areas describing excellence and accountability in each area, enabling leaders across the organization to continue to enhance their safety performance.

The following areas are outlined in the continuum:

  • Leadership commitment;
  • Responsibility and accountability;
  • Organization and structure;
  • Communication and training;
  • Incident management;
  • Hazard identification and controls;
  • Work practices and behavior; and
  • Measurement and monitoring.

Southwire utilizes numerous business and EHS strategy and execution tools to drive EHS performance and accountability, and we work with a variety of consulting firms, who provide expertise in areas of need. These tools and partnerships provide a proven methodology to place a heightened focus on the critical activities and behaviors needed to reduce injuries. Each facility has its own performance targets and lead measures based on injury history and risk in areas such as ergonomics, machine guarding and near miss reporting. Sites may also use the continuum as a guide to build a stronger safety culture and establish better systems.

2021 Sustainability Goal & Targets

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In 2016, we refreshed our workplace safety goal and developed three new targets for the next five years. Below we share our progress toward these goals.



Achieve best in class safety performance at Southwire
TARGET 2016 BASELINE* 2017 STATUS* 2018 Progress
Achieve 10X increase in injury-free event (IFE) reporting by 2021 46.8 N/A 556
(12x increase)
Achieve 75% decrease in the total recordable injury rate by 2021 1.71 1.22
(28% decrease)
(33% decrease)
Achieve Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) or equivalent certification at all sites by 2021 342% 50% 55%
*2016 Baseline and 2017 status values were revised to reflect corrections to site production numbers following the implementation of SAP, which altered the intensity calculation. 
† IFE were not measured on an enterprise level in 2017. 
‡ Status represents the percentage of locations that are VPP-ready (or equivalent). In many cases, the site is waiting for agency action, which we cannot control. Therefore, we are tracking completion based on whether or not a site has submitted an application for acceptance into the program.


We connect employee well-being with leadership at the highest level. Reflecting our emphasis on corporate governance, we hold leaders to the highest level of accountability for workplace safety and health. Responsibility starts with the Sustainability Committee of our board and our chief executive officer and cascades down to Southwire’s executive leadership team. Additionally, operations leadership and location managers participate in weekly web conferences to report their performance on workplace safety and health metrics, review safety incidents and present best practices. Our operations EHS steering committee convenes regularly to set strategies and review progress on implemented action plans at all Southwire facilities with the support and guidance of our safety teams. For more on our Southwire’s governance structure, click here.

At our manufacturing plants and distribution facilities, our employees actively participate in health and safety committees and teams, including emergency preparedness, ergonomics, job safety analysis, hazard recognition, incident investigation, sustainability, environmental, behavior-based safety, lockout/tagout, machine guarding, first responders and steering committees.

Policies & Compliance

Southwire sets the standards for operational safety at our sites through policies, procedures and guidance documents. We integrated our EHS policies with our corporate management systems, developing more than 50 standardized EHS policies and program templates and creating a set of minimum expectations for each location to meet regulatory requirements and Southwire standards. In 2018, we began auditing sites against these standards and scoring them on performance. This more comprehensive, standardized system will support the company’s ONE Southwire philosophy, eliminate variability and facilitate the integration of new facilities and acquisitions.

Certification of Safety Management Systems

Safety management systems provide Southwire a foundation to achieve and sustain success in workplace safety and health. Southwire committed to implementing and certifying a safety management system at each location by 2021. Due to government delays and the varying speed in which facilities are evaluated for admittance into OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and similar programs for certification, we adjusted our goal slightly to focus on what we can control—being ready for certification. In addition, we adjusted the goal to only consider our baseline sites (acquired prior to 2016) since it takes several years for a site to qualify for VPP (three years of ownership, certain level of safety performance, etc.).

At the end of 2018, 55 percent of Southwire sites met the goal of being VPP-ready or equivalent.

Within our U.S. operations, Southwire is working to certify all manufacturing and warehouse operations within the VPP, which consists of management commitment, employee involvement, hazard prevention and control and safety training. Operations outside the United States or those that primarily serve international customers will certify against ISO 45001 or an in-country equivalent standard, such as our Tecate, Mexico, facility, which is certified under Mexico’s Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social Empresa Segura program.


With Southwire’s strategic learning focus on increasing organizational capability, a cross-functional team embarked on a journey to study the science of human performance and error reduction techniques. This team included members with roles in environmental, health and safety, quality and operations. Human performance creates an opportunity for the study of decision-making, error-likely situations and risk reduction tools. The Human Performance Team created Southwire-specific training curricula including theory, hands-on-activities, risk reduction and error-prevention tools for all aspects of the business.

Building on lessons learned from a pilot program at our Carrollton, Georgia, Building Wire Plant, we deployed human performance principles and tools at our Starkville, Mississippi location. The interactive training workshops focused on how to recognize error-likely situations, error traps and triggers, which may lead to safety or quality errors and associated risks. We deployed human performance tools focused on stopping work when unsure and conducting pre-job briefs for high risk tasks. The team also provides coaching techniques for front-line leaders and management on how to identify error-likely situations, planning and scheduling or work and mitigation techniques.

Collaboration with Unions
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Southwire operates one union-represented facility; Section 17 of the collective bargaining agreement covers safety and health. The provisions of the agreement stipulate that the company will make reasonable provisions for the safety and health of our employees, such as requiring an employee from each shift to be trained in first aid response. Southwire will also furnish all personal protective equipment required by state and federal law and provide employees with a safety shoe allowance. The contract stipulates that Southwire management will meet with the union safety committee monthly to correct any safety violations. In addition, the agreement outlines that Southwire and the union mutually support participation in OSHA VPP and actively participate in all safety programs connected to VPP implementation.

Contractor Safety Initiatives

Southwire holds on-site contractors to the same standards as employees. We use our pre-qualification program to evaluate their safety performance before they arrive. To pre-qualify, contractors must meet certain minimum criteria for the following requirements:

  • Experience modifier;
  • Written safety program;
  • Safety questionnaire;
  • Evaluation reports;
  • Drug and alcohol screening and background checks; and
  • Training documentation.

Southwire tailors these requirements to the contractors’ type of work. After pre-qualification, we host contractor safety orientations to help teach our internal environmental, health and safety requirements. We also use an electronic reporting system for contractor incident investigations and inspections.

Data Monitoring and Reporting

We track absenteeism rates and injury types for internal purposes to determine where we need to focus our mitigation efforts (ergonomics, machine guarding, etc.). We also track occupational illnesses in our EHS data management system, which are included in our OSHA Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR). Our corporate EHS department monitors this data, and we have found no discernable trend in occupational illness. Should any trend in occupational illness arise, we will manage it through our existing risk mitigation processes.

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OSHA Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR)—Permanent & Temporary Employees*†


















TotalUnited StatesInternational
*2016 baseline and 2017 status values were revised to reflect corrections to baseline sites.
Number of incidents per 200,000 hours worked. TRIR includes all “OSHA Recordable Injuries”—first aid is not included, fatalities are included.
OSHA Lost Work Day Rate (LWDR)—Permanent & Temporary Employees


















TotalUnited StatesInternational
Number of incidents per 200,000 hours worked. LWDR days are calculated as work days, beginning with the first day the employee was to work next.
Work-Related Fatalities–Employees
  2016 2017 2018
  Total United States Int’l Total United States Int’l Total United States Int’l
Work-Related Fatalities 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1§ 0
§A salesperson was involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident while driving to the airport. This devastating incident was the first work-related fatality at Southwire in more than ten years.

Employee Well-Being

We expanded the span of our tenet, Living Well. The Whole You program extends wellness beyond the physical meaning as we strive to support our employees’ well-being all around. The Whole You includes professional experience, health, career, pay, community, life and future. Various Living Well events through the year will help employees learn about the interconnectedness of one’s health and how to improve certain aspects. Southwire employees can learn more on iAM Exchange or via the Southwire News Network.

Southwire Total Rewards

Southwire provides a broad and connected approach that promotes employee well-being. Southwire Total Rewards offers an extensive range of rewards to support diverse family needs and structures, extending into our inclusivity strategy of providing choices.

To better connect Southwire families to these rewards, we created a comprehensive offering that connects actions to benefits for employees. For example, rather than simply offering medical benefits, Southwire encourages “Focusing on my Health.” Instead of paying for time off, Southwire promotes “Living my Life.” This approach focuses on the “Employee Experience” for each Total Reward category.

In 2018, Southwire continued our journey toward “ONE Southwire” for Total Rewards and expanded benefits and offered new choices for our employees. This included:

  • Medical decision support to help employees navigate medical problems;
  • 10 days of paid parental leave (expanded in 2018) for mothers and fathers for the birth or adoption of a child and flexible work schedule policy for maternity transition (salaried employees); and
  • Introduction of critical illness, accident and identity theft protection to all employees.

In 2018, we measured our overall participation rate in Total Rewards as an indicator of our ability to meet employees’ diverse and changing needs. We again achieved our target of reaching over 90 percent participation in the Total Rewards choices, proving choice is valued.

On-Site Support

Research shows the importance of making health and wellness easy for employees by creating a health-oriented environment. To encourage employee and contractor health, Southwire maintains a tobacco-free policy and provides tobacco cessation support for our employees and their family free of charge. All Southwire locations prohibit smoking and other use of tobacco on company property.

Southwire also gives employees the opportunity to make healthy choices through:

  • Medical Facilities. In the Carrollton, Georgia area, home to approximately 40 percent of our workforce, we offer an on-site medical center and pharmacy that has operated for more than 25 years. Our services are comprehensive and cost-effective.
  • Nutrition Programs. Southwire presents nutritious options in our on-site cafeterias in Carrollton and vending machines at most locations. We list healthy cafeteria options at a reduced price to encourage their consumption and offer payroll deduction at vending locations to improve access.
  • Exercise Programs. We have on-site fitness centers and subsidize fitness club memberships where on-site centers are not available. In addition to exercise equipment, our newly updated fitness center in Carrollton also coordinates group fitness and education classes, team sports and company athletic leagues. Intramurals include volleyball, softball, basketball, flag football and more. We track employee participation to better understand the effectiveness of our efforts to engage employees in physical fitness. Our facilities’ employee utilization rate for 2018 was 40 percent, with some variation by season. This utilization rate does not include other family members such as retirees, spouses and dependents who also joined us in 2018.
  • Activation Events. These events are one of many new opportunities introduced to provide a personalized one-on-one experience to create awareness and commitment to overall well-being. In 2018, we expanded our footprint and held activation events in Huntersville, North Carolina; El Paso, Texas; Houston, Texas; and Hawesville, Kentucky. During each event, we asked employees to commit to improving an area of their well-being. “Employee commitment” represents the percentage of employees that engaged with our self-driven application, “The Whole You”, to set goals in the listed areas: My Health (physical medical/health goals—preventive, treatment or other), My Career (career and/or educational goals), My Pay (financial and/or budgeting goals), My Future (savings, retirement and/or planning for events in the future), My Life (emotional and/or work/life balancing goals) and My Community (volunteering for Project Gift sponsored events). 
Employee Commitment
My Health
My Future
My Pay
My Career
My Life
My Community