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 this time of project growth, our own concept of leadership was growing, too.

We recognized that growing as a company is not just about the metrics of completing more projects or increasing speed and profit margins. We were learning leadership is the threefold of safety, character, and quality; a known byproduct of our core values—honesty, integrity, commitment to safety, and superior workmanship.

RFI does not just provide job security and career-growth opportunities, our company provides an all encompassing support system through induction, mentors, training, inclusive meetings, and resources.  Yes, there is a traditional chain of command, but no one is above anyone else.  Everyone has a voice and deserves respect.

RFI believes training is compassion and proactive care. We believe in risk management plans and procedures being keys to higher levels of individual and collective success.  And we needed our training program to reflect this in addition to the substance of procedures, hazards, risks, and mitigations.

Our Training Map

During the Spring of 2020, we began researching, writing, producing, and implementing many trainings and courses, identifying more than twenty areas of need to include in our educational map. The trainings are rooted in the fencing industry and regulatory standards, the invaluable experience of our team, and the needs of our company in our precise role in the industry.

Risk Management

A nearly six-hour series and the centerpiece of the initiative, Risk Management provides guidelines for identifying, assessing, and controlling workplace hazards and risks associated with specific tasks of all project facets.  This training safeguards against hazard and risk before they are present in the field.  When risk cannot be avoided, it offers the employee the most effective mitigations to avoid injury and damage.

New Hire Orientation

This training focuses on company policies, procedures, administrative interaction, protocol, and an introduction to RFI and new hire expectations in the field.  Our new employees access this welcoming, preparatory tool to answer questions and clarify procedures ranging from on-site procedures to toolbox talks, payroll to chain of command, and mentorship to time off.

Foremen Leadership

Foremen are the link between our field teams and management, and often between our customers and management.  This training underlines leadership, communication, and service.  Our Foremen must be skilled communicators, coordinating and transmitting tasks and plans, and ensuring safety among our teams, subcontractors, and all third-parties.  The importance of Foremen cannot be underestimated.

Spotter and Worksite Functions

Spotter and Worksite Functions reinforces the many ways that spotters save lives.  They provide some of the most important tasks on any site.  Their responsibilities are critical, fighting daily to prevent our industry’s Fatal Four – Falls, Struck by Object, Electrocution, and Caught In or Between.

Excavation and Trenching Safety

We produced this training with the knowledge that cave-ins are the leading cause of death in excavation work, especially in trenching, and that many of our projects almost always include excavation near live underground and aboveground utilities.  This training delineates best practices for excavation techniques and employees working near and within open excavations and trenches.

Electrical Safety

Electrical Safety covers our company-specific tasks related to a deadly and unforgiving hazard—electricity.  Employees must be armed with the knowledge of electrical dangers: electrocution, electrical shock, burns, and falls; and the causes of severity: the path, length, and amount of current that flows through the body.  Our safety goal is mitigation and control—a cooperation that implements and utilizes control relating to electricity.

Currently, we are well into the production of “Emergency Plans and Procedures”, laying out emergency procedures for our facilities and worksites. We look forward to meeting our goal of completing a fully comprehensive line of training programs specific to RFI’s concepts and the unique hazards and procedures our employees experience every day.