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Posted: October 5, 2013 7:30 p.m.

Oxford puts focus on safety

Working for a city has its dangers.

No, not the upset citizens — at least not physically — but criminals, electrical lines and heavy equipment all carry varying degrees of risk.

Oxford City Clerk Lauran Willis is taking on the additional duty of being the city’s safety coordinator to focus on improving safety among all employees and to allow the city to eventually get up to $6,000 each year to buy new safety equipment such as safety vests and defibrillators, City Manager Bob Schwartz said.

Schwartz said the safety coordinator position was recommended by the city’s insurance carrier, the Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency (GIRMA), which is an insurance cooperative used by multiple cities through the Georgia Municipal Association. GIRMA told the city hiring a coordinator could improve safety and cut down on Oxford’s insurance claims.

Oxford has 13 employees, including three employees who work on the city’s electrical systems and water and sewer lines.

Those employees already attend monthly meetings with the city of Covington’s utility workers, but the city’s other employees don’t attend regular meetings. As safety coordinator, Willis will hold monthly safety meetings.

As an incentive, the city can then earn up to $6,000 each year from GIRMA for safety-related supplies and equipment.

"Police officers have a dangerous occupation, electrical workers have a dangerous occupation and water and sewer workers have a dangerous occupation. Even the guys who pick up leaves and brush and run the chipper, often do their work on the street and have to be aware," Schwatz said.

Willis will attend three GIRMA training sessions to become certified as a safety coordinator.

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