Perry Engineering

Perry Engineering Co. Safety Director Ken Pracht (center) accepts an award from Bob Lanham (left), Associated General Contractors of America President, and Paul Becker, Director Global Construction, Willis Towers Watson at the AGC National Convention in Orlando.

WINCHESTER — Perry Engineering Co. has been awarded third place in the Willis Towers Watson Construction Safety Excellence Awards, presented by the Associated General Contractors of America.

This marks the third win for the Frederick County-based company in the last three years. Perry Engineering is one of only two companies in Virginia to win this year.

Bob Lanham, the association’s president and president of Williams Brothers Construction Co. in Houston, said Perry Engineering was selected as a third-place national winner because of its exceptional leadership in safety. He noted that the firm developed and implemented a safety and risk control program through continuous improvement and maintenance. Lanham noted that Perry Engineering’s commitment to protecting its most valuable asset, its workers, makes it a leader in the industry.

To enter the contest, the company had to submit a 56-page application that explains its safety program “in exquisite detail.” That gets submitted to the AGC, and the organization does a preliminary review of the applications before selecting finalists. Once finalists are chosen, a five-person panel determines winners at the AGC’s national convention, held in Orlando this year.

Only three finalists are selected in the Safety and Risk Management category in the 200,000 man hours-worked division, which is Perry Engineering’s category.

Perry Engineering Safety Director Ken Pracht said the company follows the model safety program that OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the Virginia Department of Labor recommend.

The four key elements include management commitment, employee involvement, worksite analysis to identify safety hazards and employee safety training.

“I think the two we really excel at are management commitment and employee involvement,” Pracht said. “Those are two things that we’ve really keyed in on. I think that’s the reason for our success.”

Perry Engineering owner and President Mike Perry said safety at the workplace begins at the top and involves everyone. The focus on safety began with what are called “Perry Priorities”: safety, quality and production.

“It’s that culture of everybody looking out for each other. We have positive reinforcement for that,” Perry said. “We have teeth in our program, obviously, and we won’t tolerate anyone being unsafe.”

For example, Perry said the company has given out about $50,000 for safety awards in the past year, like Safe Crew of the Year, Safe Crew of the Quarter and Safe Employee of the Month.

New employees go through orientation and then sit down with Perry. It helps, Perry said, for an employee to hear from him just how important safety is.

New employees are also required to take 10 hours of OSHA training, according to Perry. And all superintendents and foremen have 30 hours of OSHA training and advanced first aid.

“We continue to reiterate the safety program. I’m at all the new job kickoff meetings along with our safety director. Even though we’re doing somewhat of the same type of work for each job, we kick off every new job with a safety meeting,” Perry said. “We talk about looking out for each other and keeping each other safe, the most typical slips, trips and falls and we put an emphasis on safety every day. Everybody is accountable.”

Perry said he also takes down every employee’s suggestion for safety because every worker has a different perspective.

Perry Engineering was formed by Ferman Perry in 1951 to provide site development services in the Winchester area. Since its inception, the company has grown to service a much larger geographical area and expand the scope of services provided, including the public sector.

— Contact Matt Welch at mwelch@winchesterstar.com

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