Willis Towers Watson Safety Excellence Award

AGC Awards Southern Air Top Safety Honor

The Willis Towers Watson Construction Safety Excellence Award is presented annually at the Construction Safety Excellence Awards (CSEA). Hosted by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC,), this is the industry’s most prestigious safety awards program. Companies who create and implement excellent safety and loss prevention systems and improve their safety and health management systems are recognized by AGC’s CSEA awards presentation. Judges examine a company’s leadership commitment, active employee participation, safety training, hazard identification and control and safety program innovation.

“Having successful construction project starts with having a safe workplace for your employees. It is crucial, now more than ever, for a firm to build its safety culture,” said Bob Lanham, AGC president and president of Williams Brothers Construction Co., Inc. in Houston, Texas.  ”These award recipients are leading the industry by showcasing the safest worksites in the country.”

Southern Air placed 2nd out of 43 companies at the Association of General Contractors of America’s Willis Towers Watson Construction Safety Excellence Award for having one of the nation’s best construction safety and wellness plans in 2020! Southern Air was honored for our outstanding safety performance, dedication to our safety programs and development of a safe, working culture in a hazardous industry.

Lanham said Southern Air was selected as 2nd-place winner because of our exceptional leadership in safety. He noticed our company developed and implemented an exceptional safety and risk control program through continuous improvement and maintenance of safety and health management systems. Lanham noted that Southern Air’s commitment to protecting its most valuable asset, our workforce, makes us a leader in the industry.

“Willis Towers Watson is proud to be an AGC partner in safety and to sponsor long term the AGC’s Construction Safety Excellence Awards, a partnership that began over thirty years ago,” said Mike Fredebeil, CSP, North American Director Construction Safety, Willis Towers Watson. “The last 19 months have been tough for our country and the construction industry, but we will get through this together stronger than before, thanks in large part to the work firms like, Southern Air, who are doing a great job protecting workers, their families and the public.”

There were multiple winners because the awards are distributed for a number of categories, based on the amount and type of work performed. The AGC-Willis Towers Watson Construction Safety Excellence Award winners are selected by a panel of five independent safety professionals within the government, corporate and insurance industries. Final judging for the awards program took place during the AGC’s annual convention in Orlando, Florida. Southern Air President Paul Denham and Safety Director Tommy Gay flew to the panhandle to explain why Southern Air’s safety programs and culture belong with the nation’s top industry leaders.Tommy Gay, Safety Director, Southern Air, AGC Willis Tower Awards, AGC, CSEA, Construction Safety Excellence Awards

“What an amazing experience! This is the Super Bowl of safety awards,” says Gay. “This award, one I’ve been chasing my entire career at Southern Air, recognizes a company’s safety culture that truly makes a difference in the health and safety of its employees and those around them. When you’re in front of companies like Google and Boeing explaining how your safety culture is one of the best in the nation, it’s pretty special.”

Southern Air employs a highly-engaged, full-time professional Safety Team and Safety Committee. As a company with multiple points of contact within the construction industry, we are proud to lead by example with our safe working practices and company culture. Safety is not a finish line to cross, but a journey for continuous and consistent growth. Our goal is to create a defined safety culture the most prosperous construction companies throughout our industries respect and admire. We are transcending in our safety culture, never sitting idle in our practices and education.

Prior to the pandemic, Southern Air was intensely focused on improving our safety culture. The Department of Labor and Industry, Virginia OSHA, and the AGC created a strategic partnership called the Virginia BEST (Building Excellence in Safety and Health Training) program. Virginia BEST acknowledges and celebrates improved working practices, compliance efforts, and incident prevention on construction sites. Today, Southern Air is one of only EIGHT companies out of the thousands of contractors in the State of Virginia to achieve BEST Level 1 Status!

Southern Air’s response to the pandemic began in March 2020 when we developed an internal task force to address employee health and safety concerns on a case-by-case basis. We worked tirelessly to keep our teams, their families and our customers safe. We created numerous training videos addressing workplace regulation changes, signs and symptoms, vaccine education, contact tracing, preventative quarantines, testing, the implementation of an additional 80-hour COVID time off, organized mass vaccination clinics, and developed internal programs for precise record keeping.

“Thank you to each and everyone one of you. The officers of the company for leading from the top down, my team for always looking for areas of improvement and responding to concerns immediately, the safety committee for their volunteer efforts, the project managers and superintendents daily involvement and focused safety audits and last, but certainly not least, the field team in the trenches, working hard, exposed to the hazards, and never losing focus on the bigger picture,” says Gay. “The award is awesome. It’s great to be recognized for all the hard work but the reasoning behind it is more special. We are one of the best in the nation at protecting the health and safety of our team. That makes me proud. Proud beyond words.”

We want every single person who steps foot on a construction site in a Southern Air shirt, in a competitor uniform, in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Washington State and everywhere in-between, to go home to their families the exact way they arrived to work…

Happy, healthy, safe and on the power of their own two feet, because we can’t wait to see everyone at work tomorrow.

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