Applied Engineering started in Rochester, Minnesota in 1967. In 1984, the company moved to Yankton, South Dakota. The company has 137 employees and manufactures precision machined aluminum components and assemblies used in the aerospace and defense industries, as well as in medical equipment. The company earned its first SHARP certification in March 1997 and has been SHARP ever since.
President and owner, Tom Bohnet said "We're a world class manufacturer and we wanted to be world class in safety as well." Mr. Bohnet said Jon Puetz, Senior Safety and Health Consultant, of the Engineering Extension at South Dakota State University which administers OSHA On-site Consultation Program for the state of South Dakota, introduced the company to SHARP.
Road to SHARP:
Mr. Bohnet said Jon Puetz was instrumental in helping the company achieve SHARP by assisting in the development of the safety manual outline, by providing forms and checklists, and furnishing examples for use in the development of the specific training modules. Applied Engineering has implemented a Team Improvement Process which encourages all employees to identify safety issues and create solutions before accidents and injuries occur. Employees are awarded "Yankton bucks" for the projects completed; these can be spent in the community, or on shirts, caps, golf balls, and other items. Mr. Bohnet said "Safety was once the job of one person. Now it's everyone's job" and "We look out for each other." The company re-established its priorities to: Safety, Quality, Schedule and Cost. He said whenever there is a conflict, we know the priority and we have learned that if we take care of the first 3, then cost takes care of itself.
Benefits of SHARP:
Mr. Bohnet reported that the company had gone 2,110 days-nearly 6 years-without a lost time accident. He said the employees of Applied Engineering "live and breathe safety" and are able to stay focused on their jobs without the fear of worrying that something bad could happen to them on the job. He also shared that the company once had a workers' compensation experience modifier rate of 1.3; however, since becoming SHARP has had their rate go as low as .71. This means that because of their outstanding safety record, Applied Engineering paid only 71 percent of the insurance rate established for an average company in their industry.
To Discuss Applied Engineering's SHARP Experience: Call the President or Safety Committee Chairman at (605) 665-4425.
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