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Corps of Engineers Awards Contractors for Safety Excellence

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Alaska District awarded Western Marine Construction as Contractor of the Year during its 15th Annual Celebrate Safety ceremony April 2 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Western Marine was chosen from eight contractors, and was among 10 contractors and three individuals honored for their safety performance in 2013.

Celebrate Safety is a program that recognizes and promotes excellence in safety on Alaska District construction and environmental projects. The program's ultimate goal is to improve safe work practices and historical trends. The annual ceremony is a way to recognize those teams and individuals who, through their accomplishments, minimize hazards in the work place.

Despite a more challenging reporting system the Corps adopted last year, the number of recordable accidents and injuries resulting in restricted-duty injuries decreased, said David Prado, chief of the Safety and Occupational Health Office.

"You have shown that through improved safety awareness and behaviors, it is possible to reduce accidents, and we believe that you can continue that path toward forging a conscientious and accident-free work force," Prado said to the audience of contractors.

Thinking about how the district just participated in the exercise Alaska Shield 2014, an operation that would go into effect in the event of a major earthquake, District Commander Col. Christopher Lestochi said that the construction, engineering and contractor community across the state and nation would be essential to Alaska's recovery.

"I view safety as not only critical to protecting the people who are working on our jobs, but about preserving the capability of this state and this nation in need in the event of a disaster like the 1964 earthquake," Lestochi said.

Key features of the safety program are to raise safety awareness at all levels; improve collaboration between contractors and government; use a systematic basis to identify, recognize and reward contractors and individuals who demonstrate excellence in safety; and share good ideas that improve safety.

Common safety themes appeared in the award self-nomination packets. Lestochi urged contractors to adopt these good ideas that were shared in a handout at the event into their safety programs.

"I want you to pause and think critically about this and look at these ideas and see what works for you," he said.

The safety achievement award recognizes contractors who demonstrated excellence in safety for a project in Alaska. This year's winners are:

*Ahtna Engineering LLC for an environmental remediation project at Ocean Cape.

*Arctic-American JV for a modified record fire range at Fort Wainwright.

*Haskell Corp. for a project to replace two boilers at the Eielson Air Force Base Central Heating and Power Plant.

*Patrick Mechanical, Inc. for repairing a utilidor at Eielson Air Force Base.

*STG Inc. for the third phase of mooring points installation along the Kuskokwim River.

*Unit Company for a battle command training center, tactical equipment maintenance facility and parking lot at Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson.

*Watterson Construction Company for a general support aviation battalion hangar at Fort Wainwright.

*Western Marine Construction for entrance channel dredging in Kodiak and construction of a breakwater in Sitka.

In other honors, Weldin Construction LLC received a special achievement award. This award recognizes the extra effort of a contractor or individual to positively affect the safety environment in the workplace or at a project site. The company worked on multiple projects at Clear Air Force Station, Eielson Air Force Base, Fort Greely and Fox.

An award for advancement of safety principles is also handed to contractors working for the district's humanitarian assistance program, which support's U.S. Pacific Command's theater engagement strategy. This year's winner was Himalayan Builders in Kathmundu, Nepal, for water well projects within the Kathmandu Valley.

Three individuals received an award for demonstrating exceptional dedication and commitment in the work place to advance the safety program. They are:

*SueLynn Hight, Unit Company, for her efforts on the battle command training center project at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

*Ray Peif, Haskell Corp., for the project to replace two boilers at Eielson Air Force Base Central Heating and Power Plant.

*Phillip Roberson, Unit Company, who worked on the tactical equipment maintenance facility and organizational parking project at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

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