First Balfour garners awards in construction safety

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Published April 29, 2024

First Balfour has won ten awards across various categories during the 15th National Construction Safety Conference of the Safety Organization of the Philippines, Inc. (SOPI) held last Friday, April 26. Given to institutions that maintain a safe and healthy construction workplace resulting in zero lost time incident (LTI) records, the SOPI Construction Safety Awards has six categories based on the number of recorded safe man hours. These awards include the Award of Excellence (7 Million), Award of Distinction (5 Million), Award of Honor (3 Million), Award of Merit (1 Million), Perfect Safety Award (1 year without LTI), and Award of Commendation (10% reduction in frequency rate against the previous year’s performance).

SOPI Construction Division Director-in-charge Engr. Ricardo Salanda, Jr.; First Balfour Safety Officers Rian Con-ui, Vince Peralta, and Ralph Lee; First Balfour ESH Department Head Joselito Vicente; SOPI Board of Trustees Engr. Rogelio Fornal

SOPI Construction Division Director-in-charge Engr. Ricardo Salanda, Jr.; First Balfour Safety Officers Rian Con-ui, Vince Peralta, and Ralph Lee; First Balfour ESH Department Head Joselito Vicente; SOPI Board of Trustees Engr. Rogelio Fornal

Five of First Balfour’s ongoing projects and facilities were recognized for its safety performance including an Award of Distinction for the Palayan Binary Power Plant (PBPP) Project for achieving 5,921,901 safe man hours from January 2021 to March 2023 and an Award of Honor for its Leyte various projects for recording 3,064,653 safe man hours from January 2022 to February 2024.

Meanwhile, Awards of Merit were given to the First Balfour Corporate Office for logging 1,486,080 safe man hours from January 2022 to February 2024; the Tanawon Geothermal Power Plant Project for its 2,591,395 safe man hours from October 2022 to March 2024; and First Agua Joint Venture’s East Bay Water Treatment Plant Project for its 1,722,934 safe man hours from January 2021 to June 2023. Both the Corporate Office and the East Bay Project also received Perfect Safety Record Awards.

 PBPP was also a recipient of the SOPI Award of Distinction in 2023. In photo: PBPP 5 Million safety milestone celebration

PBPP was also a recipient of the SOPI Award of Distinction in 2023. In photo: PBPP 5 Million safety milestone celebration

Additionally, First Balfour safety officers namely Ralph Vincent G. Lee (Tanawon) and Mariano Rian L. Con-ui (Mahanagdong) were among the 10 recipients of the Outstanding Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Practitioner award out of the 30 nominations SOPI received. Vincent Ray H. Peralta (East Bay), on the other hand, received an Outstanding OSH Consultant award. “The screening for these individual awards had been a really tedious process because of the number of requirements we needed to submit. We are fortunate enough to be finally recognized by SOPI,” shares Peralta who also noted that this was the first time First Balfour received individual awards for its safety officers.

Organized by SOPI and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Occupational Safety and Health Center, the awarding was held alongside the SOPI national convention which had been a successful gathering of safety engineers, practitioners, and advocates from various construction firms and safety organizations from around the country.

“These awards reflect the values and commitment of our organization to place safety and a safety culture at the center of our endeavors. Certainly, given the challenging environment that we face every day to deliver projects that make a difference to Filipinos, we owe it to our employees and partners to have the appropriate conditions to work optimally and return to their families safe and in good health everyday,” shared First Balfour Deputy Chief Operating Officer (COO) Jose Valentin A. Pantangco, Jr. as he congratulated the winners.

These awards demonstrate First Balfour’s adherence to world-class safety practices, anchored on its ISO 14001 Environmental Management System and OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System certifications which it has proudly maintained for over 20 years. First Balfour President and COO Anthony L. Fernandez also said, “This comes at a critical time as we grow at a pace we have never encountered before. Today, our overall man count is closing in on 8,000 men and equipment and vehicle count is nearing 2,000, both more than double from 3 years ago. Our job of nurturing our ESH culture is now more challenging. I trust these awards provide our people with the inspiration and drive to further excel.”

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Two of our colleagues, Lee and Con-ui, were among the 2023 Ten Outstanding Safety Practitioners recognized by SOPI. Peralta, on the other hand, was among their Outstanding Safety Consultants. Get to know more about our individual awardees below.

Ralph Vincent G. Lee. A proud oragon, Ralph was hired as an occupational health nurse in 2011 and is now the ESH Lead for the Tanawon BOP Project in Sorsogon. He has already been assigned to a number of projects nationwide but shares that his favorite is his first project assignment in FPIC in 2011 as it was the start of his ESH career journey. During weekends, he likes trying new food spots with his wife Rae and two-year-old daughter RV.

Mariano Rian L. Con-ui. Starting as a safety marshall when he was hired in 2014, Rian has successfully led ESH initiatives across various First Balfour projects with the most recent one being the Mahanagdong Project. Prior to First Balfour, he worked in KSA as a warehouse safety officer. Rian shares he likes mountain biking, snorkeling, and hiking—adventures that teach him self-discipline which he uses to focus on both his personal and work goals. He has four kids with wife Ivylheen, 17-year-old Vience Ivrian, 16-year-old Jankovic Ivan, 14-year-old Czka Llian, and 7-year-old Ma. Anikkah.

Vincent Ray H. Peralta. A Balik First Balfour employee, Vince was first hired in 2011 before returning in 2017 after working overseas in Angola, Africa. He is currently assigned at the Head Office as a Corporate ESH Manager and takes pride in spearheading First Balfour’s application to the 2024 SOPI Construction Safety Awards. Outside work, he says he likes spending time at the beach with his wife Rachel Ann and kids 6-year-old Josue Joaquin and 1-year-old Sophia Rhayne.

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