Industrial Field Maintenance (IFM), a family-owned steel and construction service company located in Ewing, Kentucky, operates two steel fabrication shops that provide services in piping fabrication and installation, mechanical equipment repair, and boiler repair.

Safety Manager Garrett Rumford explains how the company’s dedication to high safety standards, which produces quality results, puts IFM at the top of their field in plant maintenance services.

How does safety factor into your organization’s culture?
Safety is not just our top priority – it is a core value ingrained in our culture. As a veteran of the trades, our vice president sets the tone for safety in our organization. Through his experience, in both the field and as an owner, he believes that no job is worth doing if it’s not done safely. Because of this philosophy, all IFM employees, regardless of position, know that safety must come first.

Are there workplace safety concerns unique to your industry?
As a maintenance contractor and custom fabricator, our company encounters a variety of hazards with all jobs depending on the project scope and location. We frequently perform work in power generation facilities, chemical plants, steel mills, and paper mills. Each industry comes with its own specific hazards that include, but are not limited to, cranes and rigging, hot work, work from heights, lockout/tagout (LOTO), respiratory hazards, equipment operation, and many more. Because of these hazards, our team works to ensure all employees are properly trained in hazard recognition and prevention strategies specific to each industry.

While we work in several locations where IFM has a consistent presence, we often encounter scenarios where we are working at a site for the first time. In these instances, it is imperative that our team maintains thorough communication, both internally and with the client. Every project for us is an opportunity to be a valued partner to our customers, and one of the best ways to accomplish that is to focus on safety up front and then follow through with that initiative until project completion.

What practices have been added to IFM’s program that have helped improve your safety record?
IFM has sustained an exemplary safety record since our company’s start-up in 2016. Even with the absence of injuries, we understand that we still have opportunities for enhancing workplace safety. Over the past year, we have implemented several initiatives to help drive continued improvement that include:

  • Implementation of Safety Flash Alerts.
  • Biweekly Safety Meetings.
  • Weekly Training/Toolbox Discussions.
  • National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Accreditation.
  • Learning Management System (LMS) Implementation.
  • Cross-training.
  • Continuing Education for IFM Safety Department.

What impacts or benefits have you seen resulting from a strong safety program?
The data alone helps paint a picture of the results of a strong safety program, but we have been driving the focus toward leading indicators rather than the lagging indicators, such as total recordable incident rate (TRIR); days away, restricted, or transferred (DART); and incident rates.

Overall participation has increased significantly this year as frontline supervisors have taken a more direct approach in leading safety discussions and reporting. The more our program improves, the more we find that our leadership team is being proactive when it comes to safety by focusing heavily on the safety portion of prejob planning and taking ownership of the safety on their jobsites rather than looking at safety as a separate function.

How has KEMI assisted in enhancing workplace safety and reducing claims?
KEMI has been an exceptional partner for workplace health and safety training. During the past two years, KEMI provided several training courses for IFM employees that included Powered Industrial Truck Operator, Aerial Work Platform Operator, and First Aid/CPR/AED/BBP trainings, to name a few. IFM also frequently utilizes the safety resources available for free through KEMI’s website at and is a subscriber to the KEMI electronic newsletter. These resources and training courses have allowed IFM to continue to drive a culture of “safety first” in our organization.

What notable safety milestones or recognition has your organization achieved during the past several years?
IFM views each day without an injury as a milestone to be proud of, but some additional milestones worth noting are:

  • Proud recipients of the KEMI Destiny Award for three consecutive years.
  • Currently at more than 600,000 man hours without a recordable injury.
  • Year-over-year improvement in Experience Modification Rating.
  • NCCER Accredited Assessment Center (AAC) Accreditation.
  • HSI Certified for CPR/AED/First Aid Instruction.
  • Leadership Training – two (OSHA 500), one (OSHA 510).

IFM fully embraces KEMI’s motto, “Control your own destiny.” We try to exemplify this through total organizational commitment to safety, our obligation to our workforce, and our partnership with KEMI and our clients.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *