The SMART Association is pleased to present its inaugural Safety Innovation Award to Snyder Roofing. Snyder Roofing has been a long-standing Dream Team participant and boasts the fourth lowest EMR among all employers in Washington State. This award recognizes Snyder’s outstanding safety culture which runs deep throughout the company and is a great source of pride for all employees.


Snyder Roofing Used Creative Resource to Identity Cause of Common Strains

Snyder was selected to be the recipient of the award because of the research the company supported on strains caused by using older four wheeled handcarts to pull heavy roofing materials in daily operations.  In the year leading up to the hand-cart research, Snyder had experienced 8 incidents involving strains. The company was fortunate to have a talented PHD candidate intern, Zhenyu Zhang, who was working on his advanced study in ergonomics at the University of Washington.

At the direction of the company’s Director of Environmental Health & Safety, Lucille Mihalic, Zhenyu began collecting and analyzing data to get to the root cause of elevated strain injuries. He found that there was a measurable significant difference in the initial force required to operate safe load capacity in the old carts with degraded wheel bearings versus that in new carts. In fact, the safe load capacity for a new cart was almost double than that for the older carts.

The data drove Snyder to purchase new carts which will have a regular maintenance schedule. Perhaps the most important component was the training employees received on load capacity and preventing strains. Since the roll-out of the training, the company has experienced zero strain injuries and workers approach tasks requiring hand-carts in a much smarter way because they have been trained on the connection between a properly maintained cart and load capacity.

After the successful initial presentation of his data at the company’ s all-hands meeting, Zhenyu applied and was awarded a $180,000 SHIP grant through the University of Washington to further his research using Snyder workers.  He will continue to focus on the safest way to use four-wheel carts to move materials.

This is only one example among many of the company’s ingenuity and innovation which shows their employees every day that their health and safety is Snyder Roofing’s top priority.