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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.

An analogous relationship exists between employee well-being and engagement—and employee engagement and business results. Gallup’s research shows employees who report high well-being:

  • Miss 41 percent less work due to poor health;
  • Are 36 percent more likely to report a full recovery after an illness, injury, or hardship;
  • Are more than twice as likely to say they always adapt well to change; and
  • Are 81 percent less likely to seek out a new employer in the next year.

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 offers a “meet them where they are” approach to safety planning and execution. The continuum plays a key role in EHS planning processes, serving as a tool for identifying which locations need the most support and guidance. Clearly describing excellence and accountability in each area enables leaders across the organization to continue to enhance 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 several consulting firms to 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 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. This report is our first time sharing our progress toward these goals.


Achieve best in class safety performance at Southwire
Achieve 10X increase in injury-free event (IFE) reporting by 2021 46.8 *
Achieve 75% decrease in the total recordable injury rate by 2021 1.71 1.30
(24% decrease)
Achieve Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) or equivalent certification at all sites by 2021 38% 36%**
*New IFE reporting process is in development and targeted for completion at the end of 2018. IFE were not measured on an enterprise level in 2017.
**In 2017, one additional site was certified; however, two VPP sites were closed.


We connect employee well-being with leadership at the highest level. Reflecting our emphasis on 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 approximately 50 standardized EHS policies and program templates and creating a set of minimum expectations for the locations to meet regulatory requirements and Southwire standards. In 2017, we rolled out a portion of these standards to sites each quarter, with the objective to have all standards implemented at all warehouse and manufacturing locations by the end of the year. In 2018, we will begin 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 of our locations by 2021. As of the end of 2017, 36 percent of Southwire sites met this goal.

Within our U.S. operations, Southwire is working to certify all manufacturing and warehouse operations within the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (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 the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Specification (OHSAS) 18001 (soon to be 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 in human performance error management techniques, a team of plant health and safety professionals created a Southwire-specific training curriculum. In 2017, we leveraged the lessons learned from a pilot program at our Carrollton, Ga., Building Wire Plant and deployed human performance principles at our Starkville, Mississippi, location. The training for plant managers and supervisors focused on learning to recognize error-prone situations, which increase the risk of safety incidents and quality errors. The team also provides coaching for supervisors and managers on how to mitigate these situations when error precursors are identified.

Collaboration with Unions
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Southwire operates two union-represented facilities; 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. The company 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 achieve an overall grade of either B or better 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 and they 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)–Employees*












2016             2017
2016             2017
United States
2016             2017
OSHA Lost Work Day Rate (LWDR)–Employees*












2016             2017
2016             2017
United States
2016             2017
*Number of incidents per 200,000 hours worked. TRIR includes all “OSHA Recordable Injuries”—first aid is not included, fatalities are included. LWDR days are calculated as work days, beginning with the first day the employee was to work next.
Work-Related Fatalities–Employees
  2016 2017
  Total Male Female United States Int’l Total Male Female United States Int’l
Work-Related Fatalities 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Employee Well-Being

Southwire is moving outside of the traditional wellness model to an integrated total “Well-Being” approach. Positively influencing the physical, emotional and financial well-being of employees and contractors requires a comprehensive approach and focus on the “Employee Experience.” Southwire’s holistic view covers a broad range of benefits—Southwire Total Rewards—as well as on-site support to encourage employees to make healthy lifestyle choices.

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 2017, Southwire continued our journey toward ONE Southwire for Total Rewards. This included adding paid parental leave, vacation buy-up for salaried employees and short-term disability benefit expansion for hourly employees. Southwire offers:

  • Up to four weeks’ vacation (calendar year);
  • Vacation buy-up plan allows salaried employees to buy up to five days of additional vacation;
  • 11 total holidays comprised of set and floating holidays;
  • Bereavement Leave (maximum of four days in some cases);
  • 26 weeks of short-term disability benefits (extended from 12 weeks) for hourly employees;
  • Three days of paid parental leave for mothers and fathers for the birth or adoption of a child (benefit is expanding to two weeks in 2018); and
  • Flexible work schedule policy for maternity transition (salaried employees).

In 2017, we began measuring our overall participation rate in Total Rewards choices as an indicator of our ability to meet employees’ diverse and changing needs. We achieved our target of reaching over 90 percent participation in the Total Rewards choice.

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. All Southwire locations prohibit smoking and other use of tobacco on Southwire property.

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

  • Medical Facilities. In the Carrollton, Ga. area, home to approximately 40 percent of our workforce, we offer an on-site medical center and pharmacy that has operated for more than 20 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 healthful cafeteria options at a reduced price to encourage their consumption; track healthy purchases to better understand and accommodate employee preferences; and offer payroll deduction at vending locations to improve access. We set a goal to provide healthy choice options at100 percent of our locations by 2018. In 2017, 80 percent of Southwire locations had access to healthy choice options, up from 70 percent in 2016.
  • 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 2017 was 34 percent, with some variation by season. This utilization rate does not include the 634 retirees, spouses, and dependents that also joined us in 2017.
  • Activation Events. These events are one of many new opportunities introduced this year to “meet the employee where they are” through a personalized experience. Our goal is to provide a personal one-on-one experience to create awareness and commitment to overall well-being. We will continue to build our well-being strategy in 2018.