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SAVANNAH — Working with electricity is inherently dangerous, but one local electric utility has gained recognition for implementing robust safety protocols. 

For its part to encourage zero injuries, Altamaha EMC recently received accreditation for its safety practices from the Electric Cooperative Safety Accreditation Program of Georgia, developed by Georgia EMC and based on the utility’s safety record and safety programs over the last three years.

The Safety Accreditation Award was presented to Altamaha EMC during the Georgia EMC annual meeting held Nov. 6 in Savannah.

“Georgia’s EMCs take the subject of workplace safety very seriously, making sure they do everything possible to keep workers and members of the public safe,” says Georgia EMC Vice President of Training and Safety Harry Reeves. “Achieving accreditation shows that a cooperative is taking the right precautions and teaching the right lessons to stress safety on the job.”

The accreditation process involves in-depth evaluation of safety procedures through review of the EMC’s records and a multi-day site visit by experts from other accredited EMCs and the Electric Cooperative Training Center.

The cooperative’s safety records are examined for adherence to safety standards and regulations from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“Rigorous scrutiny ensures that EMC employees are following the proper safety protocols in the office and in the field to keep themselves, co-workers and the general public safe,” Reeves said.

During the on-site inspection, observers visit the utility’s main office, warehouse and district offices as well as the service area. Inspectors make sure that safety equipment used by cooperative employees – everything from bucket trucks and rubber goods to fiberglass-insulated sticks used to handle live wires – complies with testing protocols.

The inspection process also determines whether the cooperative is keeping the public safe. Observers inspect public rights of way, utility poles, and overhead and underground wiring to ensure that proper utility practices are being followed.

George McLendon CEO of Altamaha EMC said that safety is ingrained in the culture of the organization.

“This award shows the commitment we make to safety,” McLendon said. “We live it; we breathe it, and we practice it day in and day out to better serve our members and protect our employees.”

Altamaha EMC is one of 12 in the state to receive the ESCAP accreditation in 2023, which is effective for three years. Georgia EMCs undergo re-accreditation on a rotating basis.

Georgia EMC’s annual Safety Awards recognize electric cooperatives that have created an environment where employees live out safety principles in both their professional and personal lives to protect not only themselves, but others as well.

Altamaha EMC is a consumer-owned cooperative providing electricity and related services to members in Emanuel, Johnson, Laurens, Montgomery, Tattnall, Toombs and Treutlen counties.

Georgia EMC is the statewide trade association representing the state’s 41 electric cooperatives, Oglethorpe Power Corp., Georgia Transmission Corp. and Georgia System Operations Corp. Through this statewide network, the EMCs provide electricity and related services to 4.4 million people, nearly half of Georgia’s population, across 73 percent of the state’s land area. To learn more, visit www.georgiaemc.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Press release issued by Altamaha EMC.

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