Safety First for Akkerman Inc
Awarded the Minnesota Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program certification, Akkerman Inc. celebrates its commitment to worker safety.
The people of Akkerman Inc. are proud to fly the MNSHARP flag, recognition of their exceptional commitment to safety.
Akkerman Inc. was honored Aug. 4 as a Minnesota Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program certified work site. MNSHARP, a Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration program of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, recognizes companies
demonstrating exemplary health and safety programs that go above and beyond applicable OSHA standards.
Family-owned Akkerman Inc., which manufactures microtunneling, pipe-jacking, guided boring and earth pressure balance equipment, is now one of only 39 Minnesota manufacturers qualified to fly the distinctive MNSHARP flag outside its facility. To qualify, the Brownsdale company
worked with the Department of Labor and Industry's Workplace Safety Consultation unit to correct any potential hazards within its facility and to develop a written work-site safety program.
President Maynard Akkerman says the certification process helped his company fine-tune its safety measures, particularly with regard to near-miss occasions when accidents nearly occurred but were avoided. Before the MNSHARP certification process, Akkerman says employees were
hesitant to report near misses or minor accidents for fear they would get in trouble.
"But that's the last thing we want," he says. "If there was something that happened, even if it resulted in breakage of equipment, we want to know and talk about it. That is one of the biggest things that I think can make a company better. 'Learn from your mistakes,' as
they say, and we weren't doing that in the past."
To continually improve safety within its operations, the company now encourages workers to report all accidents and near misses without fear of censure. Akkerman says making safety the top priority has helped the company to attract and retain highly skilled workers. It also
will reduce the cost of its insurance premiums.
Culturally, the certification has affirmed Akkerman's commitment to putting employee safety first and has empowered company workers to do the same. He hopes that other manufacturers will follow suit.
"So many times in life and in business, you get so caught up, so busy, and you don't get your priorities quite right, whether it be safety or anything else," Akkerman says. "I think this whole process, the thing it did for my company, was to demonstrate to the employees
how committed we as a management team are, and how we want this culture to be around here. ... I would strongly urge any and all companies to take a look at this program because it's not a painful thing. It's a very good thing for you and your company."
For more information about Akkermain Inc., go to