VIKOR has always strived to be a leader in the industry when it comes to safety. Our safety and training department has developed an extensive in-house training curriculum that is customized to meet our customers’ needs.
We spoke with Brandon Foster, Director of Safety and Field Operations about what it means for VIKOR’s safety to be above the industry standard.
“It starts with our CEO Craig Snyder’s philosophy that, at VIKOR, we are a laboratory for human development. When it comes from the top that our ultimate goal is to create confident leaders, it really helps define the purpose and direction for our training initiatives,” said Foster.
Our culture is one that encompasses unity; we preach to “be your brother’s keeper”. We believe that if the sub-culture within a crew aligns well that those people will look out for each other, and communicate at a high level thus avoiding incidents because they care about each other as individuals.
Our in-house production team creates micro-training videos for VIKOR TV which is essentially a video library similar to YouTube packed full of industry-specific how-to videos which star VIKOR staff from around the country.
This is just another example of the unique career opportunities VIKOR offers. Foster says, “I do not know of any other contractor company that has offered someone a career like aerial videographer as a full-time position.”
Our commitment to training was highlighted during the COVID pandemic. We hired professional production crews to live feed all-day training events to our staff all over the country.
Our team was able to tune in from their personal device, from anywhere with a wifi connection. This wasn’t your typical training either. Foster shares what this experience was like.
“I am talking about eight hours straight of VIKOR TV, four cameras, four mics, sound, lighting, top-of-the-hour Q&A, significant participation prizes, VIKOR commercials, VIKOR award recognition, and new training each hour on different safety-related topics. We sent everyone per diem to order their own lunch. It was a true production, and I do not know of anyone in our industry who took it that far when we all needed to find creative solutions while we couldn’t gather as a group.”
Thanks to our success, we’ve been able to build a world-class training center which according to Brandon Foster is second to none.
We are not the only company in our industry that has a training center, however, ours is uniquely customized to our specific niche workforce. It’s not just for working at heights, but it serves purpose, style, and practicality.
Our on-site training towers make it easy to train new hires and perform yearly recertifications at our facilities. We test and practice fall protection, rescue techniques, rigging and hoisting, tower installation, and maintenance, as well as perform NWSA testing and recertifications.
We train with the same exact gear, tools, and components that our staff will need to be familiar with when they go to perform the work in the field.
Some of the features to highlight of the VIKOR Training Center:
In addition to our indoor training facility, we also have an outdoor tower which is just a stone’s throw from our Training Center door that consists of a 50-foot monopole.
Much of the year the training happens indoors with the ability for us to minimize downtime when switching from one topic to another. It also eliminates the risk of weather shutting us down.
The outdoor tower is used for a variety of exercises, but typically it sees the most action during the summer months with climber, rescue, and rigging training. The level of training that can take place outdoors in the elements on higher structures is usually for our highest-level tower employees.
“When training, I want my students to leave with so much confidence that they believe they could teach someone about the subject at hand. Who regulates it, what it is, what does it do, what’s it called, who makes it, how do I use it, what are the limitations, what is it rated for, how do I inspect it, why do we use this, and most importantly how do I safely use and apply it,” says Brandon Foster.
He goes on to say he believes many people learn best through experience, so when students are practicing a new skill mistakes can be helpful — as long as it isn’t going to harm someone. That experience is reviewed for what went well and what didn’t go as planned in order to identify where things went off course. This gives the opportunity to teach how to correct it and prevent it in the future.
Once students pass the skill check, they’ll receive a certification. When certifications expire, our renewal or refresher process allows for re-certification and updated best practices.
VIKOR’s dedication to elevation and improvement leads to quality delivery and when necessary, the evolution of services and practices.
Our Safety & Training Team also volunteers for many industry committees, including NATE, which helps us stay ahead of the curve knowing what is coming in the future, and allows us to be proactive for any changes before they are enforced.
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With offices throughout the great plains, mountain states, and southwest, we are perfectly situated to benefit our customers with Unity, Elevation, & Dedication in our expanding geographic footprint.