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California company execs honored with IRMI risk management award


SAN DIEGO—Two senior managers of Watsonville, Calif.-based Granite Construction Inc. have been chosen as the 2011 recipients of the Gary E. Bird Horizon Award for innovation and excellence in risk management at the 31st annual IRMI Construction Risk Conference in San Diego.

Bob Johnson, Granite Construction's safety director, and Deb Boyd, the company's claims manager, were credited with implementing lean construction concepts in Granite's risk management program. The concepts were developed in large part to reduce the frequency and severity of muscle and bone injuries to its workforce, which accounted for 68% of the company's workers compensation claims in 2007.

Granite's accident prevention program was implemented in mid-2007, Mr. Johnson said during the Monday award ceremony, and consists of formalized safety training and incident reporting, inspections and audits.

According to the company, short- and long-term workers comp claims stemming from soft-tissue injuries were more than halved just two years after the program began.

The Gary E. Bird award, named for a Marsh Inc. senior vp killed in the 2001 World Trade Center attack, is presented each year to risk managers in the construction industry “who have demonstrated a commitment to improving construction risk management through the implementation of innovative, cost-effective and efficient techniques,” International Risk Management Institute Inc. President Jack Gibson said during the ceremony.

Other finalists for the award included Shari Natovitz, vp of risk management at Silverstein Properties Inc.; Allan M. Yokoyama, safety administrator at Albert C. Kobayashi Inc.; Lillian Mendez, insurance coordinator for the W.E. O'Neil Construction Co. Inc. of California; and Vicki Harkleroad, director of corporate insurance for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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