Providing a safe working environment for our employees and contractors through the elimination of hazards and the implementation of safety training, systems and equipment


Effectively managing workplace safety and health risks and encouraging employees to take responsibility for their safety—and that of their coworkers—improves working conditions which, in turn, protects our employees’ quality of life. Our employees help differentiate Southwire from the competition by ensuring we consistently deliver the best quality product to our customers in a timely manner. When our employees are safe, healthy and engaged, Southwire performs best.

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Our Approach

Southwire manages safety as a matter of principle—the well-being of employees and contractors matters most. Workplace safety and health remain Southwire’s primary concern for all our employees and contractors. In 2016, we established a goal to achieve best in class safety performance at Southwire. 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.

Southwire Continuum to Best in Class

Safety is core to Southwire’s culture. To plot our path to excellence, we established the “Southwire continuum to best in class” to help our leaders move the organization along the path of 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 may find itself at a different place on the continuum, this strategy offers a “meet them where they are” approach to safety planning and execution. The continuum will play a key role in future environmental, health and safety (EHS) planning processes, serving as a tool for identifying where locations need the most support and guidance. 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.

Clearly describing excellence and accountability in each of these areas will enable leaders across the organization to continue to enhance safety performance.

Another tool we are using to drive performance is FranklinCovey’s 4 Disciplines of Execution™ (4DX)—focus, leverage, engagement and accountability. 4DX provides locations that are experiencing the most injuries with a proven methodology to place a heightened focus on the critical activities and behaviors that are needed to reduce their injuries. Each facility will have its own performance targets and lead measures based on injury history and risk in areas such as ergonomics, machine guarding, employee engagement and near miss reporting. Sites may also use the continuum as a guide to build a safety culture and establish systems. Our goal is zero injuries, period.


To continue to improve our safety performance, Southwire set three aggressive long-term goals covering both employees and contractors:

  • Certification of Safety Management Systems. Implement one of the following certified safety management systems at all manufacturing and warehouse locations by year-end 2022: OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), Occupational Health Safety Assessment Specification (OHSAS) 18001 (soon to become ISO 45001) or an in-country equivalent.
  • Employee Safety. Achieve an OSHA Total Recordable Injury Rate for global operations of less than 1.0 by year-end 2018.
  • Contractor Safety. Achieve 20 percent reduction in contractor injury rates by year-end 2018.

In 2016, we refreshed our workplace safety goal and developed three new targets for the next five years. We will begin reporting our progress in our 2017 Sustainability Report.


Achieve best in class safety performance at Southwire.
  • Achieve 10X increase in injury-free event reporting by 2021.
  • Achieve 75% decrease in the total recordable injury rate by 2021.
  • Achieve Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) or equivalent certification at all sites by 2021.


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.

Health & Safety Committees

Among our various manufacturing plants and distribution facilities, our employees actively participate on 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.

We implemented our new key performance indicator that measures the percentage of EHS involvement for all our manufacturing and warehouse operations. This measure captures the total percentage of the workforce engaged in Safety, Health and Environmental committees, teams or other hazard identification and mitigation strategies. Establishing this new indicator allowed us to set a target of 80 percent participation for 2016. After developing a standardized approach to gathering that data, we anticipate reporting on our progress in the 2017 sustainability report. Monitoring participation rates enables us to better identify and manage opportunities for improvement.


In late 2016, we kicked off a 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 and initiated a pilot program at our Building Wire Plant in Carrollton, Georgia. This training for plant managers and supervisors focused on learning to recognize error-likely situations, which increase the risk of safety incidents and quality errors. The team will also provide coaching for supervisors and managers on how to mitigate these situations when error precursors are identified.

Policies & Compliance

A vast network of policies, starting with our EHS policy, guides our operational safety. In 2015, Southwire began integrating our EHS policies with our corporate management systems. In 2016, we developed more than 50 standardized EHS policies and program templates and created a set of minimum expectations for the locations to meet regulatory requirements and Southwire standards. In 2017, we will roll 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 their performance. This more comprehensive, standardized system will support the company’s One Southwire philosophy, eliminate variability and facilitate integration of new facilities and acquisitions.

Certification of Safety Management Systems

Safety management systems provide Southwire with 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. Currently, close to 40 percent of Southwire sites meet 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.

Contractor Safety Initiatives

Southwire holds on-site contractors to the same standards as employees and evaluates their safety performance before they arrive using our pre-qualification program. To pre-qualify, contractors must achieve a grade of either A or B for the following requirements:

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

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

Our Performance

We believe in the adage, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Therefore, we track a wide variety of performance metrics related to workplace safety and health. We use leading indicator data to enable a proactive assessment of our safety performance. One focus area in our leading indicator reporting was near misses. We also track but do not publicly report OSHA citations/violations.

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OSHA Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR)*



OSHA Lost Work Day Rate (LWDR)*

*Number of incidents (200,000)/hours worked.

VPP Sites or Equivalent**

**The percentage and number of certified sites has varied over the last several years as Southwire has closed existing facilities (some of which were certified), started up greenfield sites and grown through acquisition. As an example, Southwire’s 2014 acquisition of Coleman Cable increased the total number of sites, resulting in a significant decrease in the percentage of VPP or equivalent certified sites.

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Southwire tracks occupational illnesses in our EHS data management system. 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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Southwire operates two union-represented facilities, and 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, an employee from each shift will be trained in first aid response, the company will furnish all safety personal protective equipment required by state and federal law, and Southwire will provide employees with a safety shoe allowance. Further, the contract stipulates that Southwire management will meet with the union safety committee on a monthly basis and 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.