Special Topics in Safety Management

We’re Celebrating Our 2020 Safety Standout Award Winners!

While their recognition was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now proud to share the accomplishments of our 2020 Safety Standout Award winners. Read on to meet our latest winners and runners-up, plus join us when we hold a virtual awards ceremony in June at our online summit EHS Now: An Online Educational Experience.

Safety Standout Awards

n_defender / Shutterstock.com

These awards are sponsored by SafeStart, a safety company focused on human factors. Its mission is to reduce preventable deaths and injuries both on and off the job by making human factors more understandable, safety training more personable, and giving organizations around the world a more engaging and useful approach to keeping people safe.

SafeStart’s practical approach to learning and their transformative human factors framework allow their consultants, staff, and clients to unlock continuous improvements and tackle the toughest workforce challenges. Its unique combination of individual and system solutions gives companies a more dynamic and reliable approach to preventing injuries and improving performance. Learn more at safestart.com.

Let’s now meet our 2020 Safety Standout Award winners!

Best Overall Safety Program and Culture: Chugach Industries Incorporated (CII)

Chugach Industries Incorporated (CII) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chugach Alaska Corporation, an Alaskan Native company that is committed to supporting their people and heritage. While the organization operates in many regions on a wide variety of projects, this Safety Standout Award for Best Overall Safety Program and Culture is presented for its role as Base Operations Contractor for Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey. Working on a myriad of operations across the 6,500 acre military installation, including maintenance, improvement, and construction on nearly 100 miles of roads, 8 miles of sidewalks, and almost 800 buildings (including explosive work areas), Chugach demonstrates an exemplary safety program and culture.

With such a wide array of work functions, from public works activities to IT installations to construction management to materials procurement to snow plowing to paving, the hazards facing Chugach employees at Picatinny Arsenal are diverse and numerous. They face the challenge with a clear and ever-present prioritization of worker safety. Communication of this priority takes the form of safety posters, handouts, and e-mails, along with positive reinforcement of safety with their Good Catch program that puts a focus on leading indicators. Through its excellent programs and culture, Chugach engages its employees to actively participate in safety; supports its frontline supervisors; provides training to employees, contractors, and temporary workers; and employs effective use of metrics to track its success.

Thomas Hawthorne, Safety Manager for Chugach at Picatinny Arsenal, had this to say in the award application:

“In my 25 years of performing Environmental, Health, and Safety work I have never seen some of the complex and unusual environments CII employees have come up against here at Picatinny Arsenal. Our people have handled these situations superbly and with ever-increasing technical prowess, and over the last two years with our new Safety Refocus campaign we have made tremendous safety strides and have the best safety culture I have ever seen.

We are working very hard using an innovative, comprehensive safety program and tremendous management and employee support to reduce our injuries and accidents to 0 for 2020!!”

Congratulations to Chugach Industries Incorporated for this well-deserved recognition!

Innovations in Safety Training Award: KHS&S Contractors

KHS&S Contractors
KHS&S is one of the nation’s largest specialty contractors, providing award-winning interior, exterior, and thematic finishes for commercial construction of all types. The company is the nation’s leading theme contractor, having completed more than six million square feet of thematic finishes, including the development of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge with Disney. KHS&S continues to grow through innovation, technology, and culture in order to deliver exceptional, safe projects to clients.

KHS&S has developed an exclusive, innovative, and industry-specific safety training system titled “Human Element,” which employs a unique use of icons to identify hazards. Each hazard is placed into a category, allowing the company to strategically tailor its training to a given risk activity. These hazards/icons help KHS&S take a visual approach to safety training and compliance, ultimately guiding it toward successfully mitigating risk with worker comprehension at top of mind.

In its application, KHS&S further emphasized the importance of training to their safety success:

“We invest up front through KHS&S trade-specific safety training and follow up to ensure retention of information. Further, we believe that continuous training is critical for the retention and advancement of our employees’ knowledge, so we incorporate employee interviews to check for understanding. Moreover, KHS&S has integrated lessons learned into each project prior to the start of work. We work to understand our opportunities from similar projects and/or our interactions with our general contracting partners and vendors/suppliers. These lessons are then converted into toolbox topics to push the information to the appropriate teams.”

The results of KHS&S’ Human Element system speak for themselves: The company had a 0.52 Experience Modification Rate (EMR) in 2019, one of the lowest in their industry.

Best Safety Committee: CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC)

CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC), a subsidiary of Jacobs, is the prime contractor for the safe environmental cleanup of the Central Plateau and River Corridor at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hanford Site in Richland, Washington. During its current contract from 2008 to 2020, CHPRC employees and subcontractors reduced risk on the Hanford Site by performing a variety of tasks, from cleaning up contaminated groundwater plumes before they reach the Columbia River to removing highly radioactive “sludge” to decommissioning and demolishing the Plutonium Finishing Plant, which once housed secret stores of material for the nation’s defense.

Within CHPRC, there are 10 Employee Zero Accident Councils (EZACs) that would be considered safety committees in other organizations. Each EZAC has a core team with a management mentor, two chairpersons (one non-represented and one represented), a recorder, representatives from each work group and craft, VPP Points-of-Contact, a HAMTC (Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council) Safety Representative, and a Project Safety Professional who attend monthly meetings.

CHPRC described how these safety committees are exceptional:

“CHPRC workers set a positive safety example on the Hanford Site and in the community. Worker involvement is key to our safety success, and our Employee Zero Accident Councils promote extensive opportunities for workers at all levels to participate in safety for the company. With 10 EZACs, there are more opportunities for involvement for our 1,700+ workforce. Each EZAC has its own safety challenges because of their scope of work, and no organization is left out or unheard.”

With its diverse and clearly defined roles and responsibilities, effective communication strategies, and daily engagement in the promotion of worker safety, CHPRC is exceptionally worthy of the Safety Standout Award for Best Safety Committee.

Moving Beyond Compliance Award: Dynamic Energy Services International, LLC (DYNESI)

We selected Dynamic Energy Services International, LLC (DYNESI) as this year’s recipient of the Moving Beyond Compliance Award for its robust, multi-layered approach for systematically addressing the human side of safety. While all applicants deserve recognition for going beyond compliance, DYNESI has not only recognized how people can unintentionally deviate from optimal practice; they have fully incorporated fail-safes into numerous processes and in multiple ways to reliably ensure positive outcomes.

DYNESI has built a culture of safety through continual training, reinforcement, and encouragement with management’s visible leadership and commitment and by engaging everyone in safety and checking all of the boxes—from its Back to Basics program to a Stop Work Authority. Its uniquely designed processes like the Dynamic Execution Diamond give people an efficient way to stop and think about what could happen before they act and incorporate feedback loops for continuous improvement for their own safety and for looking out for each other.

DYNESI’s application further elaborated on the necessity of management commitment to addressing human factors, behavioral safety, and safety culture:

“We understand that to create and sustain a robust and healthy [SH&E] culture we, as management, must focus on both the behavioral (physical/external) practices and the attitudes (values/internal) of our employees through visible demonstration of our leadership and commitment to our culture. We must also dedicate efforts to educating and encouraging employees to understand the human motivations behind why we do things the way that we do.”

With its focus on human factors, DYNESI is truly moving its excellent safety program beyond compliance!

BLR’s Lifetime Achievement in Safety Award: Bruce Backus

Bruce Backus
Bruce Backus is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Environmental, Health, and Safety (EH&S) at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU), and for three decades, he has been a leader in improving safety and environmental performance in the colleges and universities sector. Since 2000, his program at WashU has received 37 safety, EH&S, sustainability, recycling, and emergency preparedness awards and recognitions, including recognitions from the National Safety Council (NSC), Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU), Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), American Biological Safety Association (ABSA), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In 2008, Backus was elected to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Association (CSHEMA), and in 2009, Bruce was asked to run for President of CSHEMA. The Board saw Backus as a leader, who because of his record of excellence in the EH&S field and his voluntary leadership positions for Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), could establish CSHEMA as a self-sustaining, preeminent organization for academic EH&S professionals. Today, CSHEMA membership has grown to include 414 colleges, universities, and research institutes, with over 4,800 individuals from those institutions actively participating in CSHEMA.
Washington University in St. Louis
Bradley King, Director of the Office of Occupational Safety at WashU, further described Bruce’s accomplishments at the university:

“Mr. Backus has continuously improved the EH&S department to better support academic, research, clinical and support functions. Under his leadership, the EH&S department has met the demands of a growing university, reduced serious injuries, and maintained a high level of compliance. In addition, he has been instrumental in getting university leadership involved in taking ownership of their safety and compliance programs.”

Bruce is also an active author and lecturer on topics ranging from safety to hazardous waste management to environmental permitting, and has published numerous articles on these subjects and more.

Young Safety Professional Excellence Award: Asha Roy

Asha Roy
Asha Roy, OTD, OTR/L, is Program Manager – Safe Patient Handling and Mobility on the Workforce Safety team at Northwell Health in Lake Success, New York. She began her journey in the safety field three years ago, having served previously as a healthcare professional. In this time, Asha has taken her clinical skills and translated them into a well-rounded and expansive safety career, beginning as a clinical injury specialist and advancing her education through the research and completion of best in class training programs and certificates.

In September of 2019, Asha organized a safe patient handling conference that brought together over 200 healthcare providers from the region for what many called the “hands-down best conference they ever attended.” It was a first-of-its-kind day of inclusion that brought nurses, transporters, nursing assistants, and physical and occupational therapists together to receive hands-on training, build relationships, and make the workplace safer for patients and providers alike.

Asha continues to excel in the development of her safety career and received numerous glowing recommendations from colleagues and managers. Her supervisor, Paul Power, described in the award application her commitment to continued education:
Northwell Health logo

“We can all understand that a safety job is not a 9-to-5 commitment. Asha has spent countless evenings and weekends developing our safety plans and conducting site visits, yet she found two Masters Programs that she felt would further develop her skills … Asha applied to the MBA program at the Frank G. Zarb School of Business at Hofstra University and also the John Hopkins Master of Science program in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. A surprise to no one, she was accepted in both. The real surprise was she decided both of these to be so valuable to her and to the thousands of team members for which she works so hard every day to improve their overall safety, she decided to attend both simultaneously.”

Asha is on the Dean’s List at both universities, and she will graduate from both programs in May of this year.

A Nod to Our 2020 Runners-Up

We would also like to congratulate several outstanding runners-up that were selected in certain 2020 Safety Standout Awards categories:

Best Overall Safety Program and Culture

Monmouth County Park System

Monmouth County Park System


RedGuard LLC



Southwire Company




Best Safety Committee

Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis



Moving Beyond Compliance Award

SSOE Group




Young Safety Professional Excellence Award

Anna Bell, The Great Lakes Construction Co.

Anna Bell

Great Lakes Construction Co. logo

Congratulations, and We Will (Virtually) See You at EHS Now!

Please join us in congratulating all of our Safety Standout Award winners and runners-up on their well-deserved recognition as leaders in the safety field!

We will further celebrate the accomplishments of our 2020 Safety Standout Award winners in a virtual awards ceremony just before the closing keynote of our new summit EHS Now: An Online Educational Experience. In addition to honoring our award winners, this online event promises a wide variety of educational sessions for environment, health, and safety managers and professionals.

This one-day, free virtual summit will take place on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (EDT). Attend all 7 sessions, choose the ones most relevant to you, or receive recordings of the sessions you are unable to attend—all at no cost!  Click here to learn more and to register today.

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