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.
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.
The first safety training of the day was “Environmental Training”. This training focuses on emphasizing our company mission to leave the environment in the same condition or better than it was when we arrived including the following:
- Ground condition hazards such as submerging equipment, slips and trips, leaving ruts, and tearing up grass or seeded areas
- How to work safely and avoid injury in extreme weather conditions like wind, cold, heat, and lightning
- Efficient use of vehicles and equipment including reducing idling and vehicle maintenance
- How to prevent and respond to spills
- Recycling and conservation
- Best Management Practices (BMPs) to prevent and reduce pollution. Examples include silt socks, sediment bags, managing spoil piles, E&S permits, LODs, contaminated soil procedures, and concrete washouts.
- Wildlife concerns like snakes, ticks, spotted lanternflies, and poisonous plants
All training videos presented were specially curated by our safety department to be specific to our employee’s unique tasks and jobs in the fencing industry. The next two topics to follow were “Small Equipment” and “Heavy Equipment”.
Small Equipment training reviews each type of small equipment commonly used in a work day and their possible hazards. In this module, our employees learn about:
- Power tools categories such as hydraulic, pneumatic, gas, and electric
- Hazards like noise, flying debris, and vibrations
- Types of small equipment and their functionality, maintenance, safety, environmental, storage, and transportation requirements for each of the following:
- Post pounders
- Concrete vibrators
- Generators and pumps
- Jumping jacks and plate tampers
- Blowers and weed whackers
- Core drills
- Staple guns
The Heavy Equipment video is an overview of different types of heavy equipment, what they are used for, and their related hazards.
Highlights of the training included:
- OSHA statistics about heavy equipment injuries and incidents
- Most common incidents
- Operator training and safety
- Pre- and post-shift equipment instructions
- Safe practices for spotters and surrounding persons
- Traffic control in a work zone
- Safe rigging procedures
The last training module topic was “Cargo and Material Handling”. The main focus is how to safely handle material using mechanical means and manual lifting. This education detailed:
- Properly strapping down equipment and material onto a trailer
- Proper weight distribution
- Department of Transportation (DOT) tie-down requirements
- Inspecting and maintaining tie-downs
- Connecting a trailer to a truck
Creativity and Teamwork
Taking a break from the educational videos, a collaborative activity was introduced. Each group was given copies of popular candy wrappers like “Snickers” and “Payday” and a poster board – they were tasked with inventing a creative safety story utilizing the candy wrappers. This activity brought out the imagination, teamwork, and some chuckles in many of our employees!
The last part of the day was conducted at the yard to receive equipment certifications. Multiple stations were set up with different pieces of equipment – telehandler, forklift, skid steer, loader, aerial lift, and excavator. Employees received group and one-on-one training to observe and learn how to safely operate needed onsite equipment.
We are very appreciative of all of those who attended and helped in planning and executing this training day. We hope our employees were able to retain some important knowledge to take to the field and perform their jobs safely.
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