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Coastal Electric first co-op in Georgia to earn OHSA SHARP certification
Coastal Electric Training & Safety Coordinator James Thomas, OSHA Consultant Neely Bridges; Coastal Electric CEO Whit Hollowell; Coastal Electric Human Resources Manager Daphanie Harris; and Coastal Electric Chief Operating Officer Chris Fettes. --


Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognized Coastal Electric Cooperative as a model for work site safety and health, according to a press release from the company.

 Coastal Electric is only the second electric cooperative in the nation and the first in Georgia to be accepted into OSHA’s Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program, the release said.

 The program recognizes small businesses who have used OSHA’s on-site consultation program and operate exemplary safety and health programs. Coastal Electric began the SHARP certification process in September, which included on-site visits from OSHA consultants and inspectors.

 “You would think businesses like ours would want to avoid scrutiny and keep organizations like OSHA at arms’ length,” said Training and Safety Coordinator James Thomas. “But we actually welcomed the scrutiny and invited OSHA in to inspect our facilities and review our health and safety programs.”

 During her visit to present Coastal Electric with a special flag and plaque commemorating the achievement, research engineer Neely Bridges from the Georgia Tech OSHA consultation program expressed her surprise at how quickly the co-op was accepted into SHARP.

 Usually, after an organization submits info about their safety and health programs, they must at least go through one round of revisions and resubmission, Neely said, but not so with Coastal Electric. Their submission was approved on the first round.

 The SHARP certification is such a significant nod to Coastal Electric’s safety and health program, OSHA exempts the co-op from inspections for up to two years.

 “Our goal in building a strong safety culture is always with the well-being of our employees and our members in mind,” said Chief Operating Officer Chris Fettes. “The SHARP certification simply recognizes the excellent health and safety programs already in place as a daily part of what we do.”

 Coastal Electric Cooperative is a not-for-profit, community-owned electric cooperative providing electricity and related services to more than 19,000 member-consumers in Bryan, Liberty, Long and McIntosh counties. Coastal Electric Cooperative is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Drug-Free Workplace Employer.

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