Foreman Training: Managing, Leading, and Safety

2023-02-23T10:52:29-05:00February 23rd, 2023|Categories: Safety Spotlight|

On February 9th, 2023, Rutkoski Fencing, Inc. (RFI) held a full day of Construction Foreman Training for our project foreman and management team. Our company recognizes that one of our greatest strengths is our staff—the humans we trust to get the job done day in and day out. Investing in our employees is essential to our company culture and overall success. So to set the day's tone, our president, Timothy Rutkoski, reminded those in attendance that RFI's goal is to "not just offer our employees a job, but a career." And that the role of a construction foreman is "one of the most important jobs in the company." He continued by reviewing the often time-consuming and behind the scene tasks of managing company structure, accountability, and operations and then took a deep dive into the intricacies of estimating construction projects. After these opening comments and discussion points from the president, [...]

Training Day 2022

2022-08-01T11:53:18-04:00July 29th, 2022|Categories: Safety Spotlight|

On the last Friday of June, we held our annual Training Day. Like most construction companies, our field employees are spread out all over the state. Dedicated training days allow us to bring everyone from all different departments and locations together to meet, sometimes for the first time, and review safety policies, company values, and how to handle specific incidents and potential hazards. There are countless risks and hazards to consider in this line of work. Many types of training methods are applied from new-hire onboarding to being deemed competent for the employee’s specific position.  On this day we focused on several video modules with coordinating quizzes, creativity, teamwork plus onsite equipment training. Opening Remarks Company President, Tim Rutkoski, started the day with a welcome speech that highlighted the company’s mission, purpose, and core values. Various members of management also spoke on important topics regarding their department. Training Highlights The first [...]

4 Tips, Tricks, & Techniques to Ladder Safety

2022-03-24T14:24:25-04:00March 24th, 2022|Categories: Safety Spotlight|

Have you ever felt unsafe when using a ladder? You're not alone.  Ladders easily allow us to reach new heights and achieve tasks quickly. But quick and easy does not mean safe. It is common to get complacent when using a ladder, especially with everyday, on-the-job use. Each year around 500,000 people are injured while using a ladder. Ladders aren't the most lethal tool we have in the workplace, but they can still cause serious injury, especially when used incorrectly for any task. During National Ladder Safety Month (or any month, really), it's important to remember a few ladder basics to avoid injuries to you and those around you. 1. Choosing Your Ladder Ladders are manufactured for specific use. Accidents occur when a ladder designed for one use is used for an unintended purpose. If you are in a conductive environment like an electrical substation, choose a ladder with non-conductive [...]

OSHA, RFI, and Going Beyond The Minimum

2021-08-24T08:58:13-04:00August 23rd, 2021|Categories: Safety Spotlight|

Let’s take a journey back in time.  A time before OSHA. It is March 25th, 1911. One hundred and forty-six men and women went to work at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City.  To the 123 women and girls and 23 men, it was no different than any other day in the garment industry. At 4:40 pm, a fire started in a fabric scrap bin under a table on the 8th floor of the building. The doors to the stairwells and exits were locked to prevent thefts and break-ins.  The foreman who held the stairway door key was nowhere to be found having escaped by another route. Those who could not escape by an exit jumped from the high windows or were overcome with smoke or the fire itself. The build-up of flammable scraps and the locked exits routes lead to the [...]

Environmental Hazards of Summer: Plants and Ticks and Snakes, Oh My!

2021-07-27T09:20:14-04:00July 26th, 2021|Categories: Safety Spotlight|

Our field teams encounter various project sites that range anywhere from solar array fields to alongside busy highways. And not unlike the Land of Oz where lions and tigers and bears (Oh My!) are of consequence, there are potential environmental hazards to be aware of. Our Safety Team ensures our employees are properly prepared, educated, and safe for every season. However, when the weather heats up, summer hazards and their added preventions are essential for outside workers. Poisonous Plants In Pennsylvania, fields and wooded areas have their hazards. Three plants of concern are poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. We provide education and onsite references to recognize the different types of plants and instructions if contact occurs. Site management carries identification references to notice plant characteristics. An exposed worker is to immediately wash the area, change clothes, clean tools, and use an ivy-blocking cream on the skin. Ticks and [...]

Position Competency and The RFI Competent Person

2021-07-01T08:58:50-04:00June 29th, 2021|Categories: Safety Spotlight|

According to an article by the publication Safety+Health, defining a competent person is not an easy as it may seem.  An expert in the field will even admit  "that there is confusion on what exactly the term ‘competent’ means and who qualifies."  So, why all this confusion? Let's see if we can sort it out.  Below, we will take a closer look into what qualifications a competent person needs to meet,  how the term is defined by the U.S. Department of Labor, and how our company deems a worker competent.  What you may think of as an employee being competent at their job may not be the same as the OSHA standard, or the RFI standard for that matter. What Is A Competent Person? Occupational Safety and Health Association, commonly known as OSHA, defines a competent person as “one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the [...]

Jobsite Electrical Safety

2021-05-20T09:43:56-04:00May 19th, 2021|Categories: Safety Spotlight|

The month of May is Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) National Electrical Safety Month,with the 2021 theme of being "Connected to Safety". During the course of month, Rutkoski Fencing increases awareness efforts by highlighting the dangers that workers are exposed to due to electricity. Whether the hazard is a possible life-threatening utility strike or exposed wires on tools, we have prevention methods in place for all levels of danger. Awareness and Training Our electrical hazard mitigation begins with awareness through training. All employees participate in our company specific Electrical Awareness and Safety video upon hire. The training covers electrical terminology, grounding techniques, electrical injuries, overhead power lines, underground utilities, step and touch potential, electrocution prevention methods, and other hazards related to power tools and electricity. To keep the information fresh to the mind, designated Toolbox Talks, or morning jobsite meetings, on the topic of electrical safety is assigned on a [...]

Safe Digging Month: What You Need To Know About Pennsylvania 811

2021-04-26T10:01:43-04:00April 26th, 2021|Categories: Safety Spotlight|

Traditionally, outdoor projects start in the spring with a good chance that it will require digging.  Whether homeowner, excavator, or facility owner, there is shared responsibility in safety that comes with the digging process. Using the PA 811 system communicates the need of locating utility lines before the digging phase begins to help prevent injuries, property damage, and inconvenient utility outages under Pennsylvania law. During the month of April, Pennsylvania 811 Safe Digging Month serves as a reminder to all excavators and homeowners to call 811 at least three business days before you dig.  The call will submit a request so that the approximate location of an underground utility can be identified and marked by facility owners. To prevent injury and utility disturbance (don’t upset the neighbors), let’s take a closer look at what is involved for the DIY homeowner, contracted excavator, and facility owners. Homeowners If you are a [...]

Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls

2021-04-23T10:09:37-04:00March 15th, 2021|Categories: Safety Spotlight|

According to CDC statistics, slips, trips, and falls are the number one cause of construction worker fatalities, accounting for one-third of all on-the-job deaths in the industry.  Hazards can range from being well hidden to extremely noticeable.  But there is good news - these incidents are very preventable. Taking proper precautions on the job site every day and paying special attention during winter weather will help prevent employee injury. Perform A Daily Jobsite Assessment Evaluate worksites for dangerous hazards and develop a plan for each day. Check that worksites and passageways remain reasonably clean and free from obstructions. Pay close attention to protruding nails, objects, splinters, holes, loose boards, or other hindrances. Check for uneven or slippery areas. Check and gear up for the weather. Communicate plan to field team. Maintain Good Housekeeping Practices A clean-as-you-go method makes sure trash and waste materials are picked up immediately rather than coming [...]

RFI’s New Training Program: Uniting Values, Lessons, & Procedures

2021-02-19T08:49:24-05:00February 19th, 2021|Categories: Safety Spotlight|

February 19, 2021 In an industry as unique as fencing, third-party training options were falling short of being specific enough to our company’s values and our staff’s most performed tasks.  There are certain trainings, like OSHA and HAZWOPER, that are irreplaceable, but we wanted more for our team.  We wanted to share those personal years of knowledge and experience, our history of lessons learned, and our prioritizing culture of safety to all team members. So, in the spring of 2020, we initiated what we refer to as our Company-Specific Training Program.  A now vital tool for our staff, management, and field teams—tailored to their everyday experiences and needs. The RFI Conception of Leadership As Rutkoski Fencing, Inc. (RFI) began diversifying into high security, utility, government and industrial, and commercial markets, we were also moving toward more heavy civil construction, such as excavation, drilling, drilled pier foundations, and site restoration.  During [...]

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