The main hazards associated with golf courses (the list is not exhaustive) include:
Safe use of machinery
To prevent harm to employees ensure that all staff are fully trained to safely use the equipment provided, eg tractors (PTO), mowers, scarifiers, brush cutters, chainsaws etc. Ensure that work place equipment is maintained, it's safe for use and that it's the right equipment for the job.
Working near water
Where there is need to work near water full risk assessments should take into account such hazards as drowning and personal health (leptospirosis), and ensure that any control measures are suitable and sufficient.
Working on slopes
A full risk assessment should be conducted to assess the hazards associated with working on slopes. The risk of overturning tractors and other vehicles, eg golf buggies, should be considered, along with using hand-held equipment, specifically when the footing is not stable.
Chainsaws are potentially dangerous machines, which can cause major injury if used by untrained people. Anyone who uses a chainsaw at work should have received adequate training and be competent in using a chainsaw for that type of work. The training should include:
- dangers arising from the chainsaw itself
- dangers arising from the task for which the chainsaw is to be used
- precautions to control these dangers (including relevant legal requirements)
Hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS)
Hand arm vibration is vibration transmitted into your hands and arms when you use hand-held powered work equipment. Too much exposure to HAV can cause hand arm vibration syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Ask yourself if such tasks can be done in a different way without using vibrating tools and machines? If this can't happen, use suitable low-vibration tools, use the right equipment for the job and ensure proper maintenance and repair. It's important that any cutting tools are kept sharp so that they remain efficient. Reduction in the amount of time that a vibrating tool is used can help reduce the likelihood of HAVS - can other jobs be done in between?
For further guidance see the HSE's vibration website.
An employer who carries out work which is liable to expose any employees to noise at or above a lower exposure action value (the lower exposure action values are a/ a daily or weekly personal noise exposure of 80 dB, and b/ a peak sound pressure of 135 dB), must make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk from that noise to the health and safety of those employees. The risk assessment must identify the measures which need to be taken to meet the requirements of The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005.
To prevent personal harm from hazardous substances, eg pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals, a COSHH risk assessment is required.
For further advice on what you need to know about the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), a brief guide to the regulations is available.
Anyone using pesticides and herbicides must be fully trained and competent in their safe use. Storage of pesticides must be in a suitably designed, constructed, and marked location.
Water temperatures and legionella control
Where there are communal washing facilities arrangements should be made to prevent the risk of infection from legionella bacteria. One way to minimise the growth of legionella is to store hot water above 60C and distributed it at above 50C. However, care is needed where water runs hot. The risks of scalding should be assessed and appropriate measures taken to prevent burns, eg warning notices and thermostatic mixing valves on taps.
Water systems should be designed to avoid conditions that favour the growth of legionella by ensuring adequate insulation of storage tanks and pipes, using materials that do not encourage growth of legionella and protecting against contamination by fitting water storage tanks with lids. Water systems need to be routinely checked and inspected by a competent person and the risk assessment should be reviewed regularly. Water stagnation can encourage conditions that favour growth of legionella. It's therefore advisable to remove dead runs in pipe work from the system, flush out seldom used shower heads, taps and remaining dead legs periodically (weekly), and to remove any dirt or limescale. Other water treatment methods include chemical disinfection.
All equipment should be installed and maintained by a competent person. It's recommended (IEE Wiring Regs BS7671) that the fixed system is inspected/tested at least every five years (or more frequently as recommended by a qualified electrician) and that all electrical appliances are examined/checked ('PAT' tested) at a frequency appropriate to the risk. Regular maintenance should include visual checks for general wear and tear ensuring that plugs, leads and sockets are in good condition and that there is no exposed wiring. Any corrective actions must be carried out immediately.
On completion of a satisfactory inspection for an electrical installation, a certificate will be issued which will provide the duty holder with an accurate assessment of the condition of the electrical installation. Any remedial works identified must be carried out by a qualified electrician and records kept.
For further information, consult the HSE guidance.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Protective equipment will be needed for those working with hazardous substances and dangerous machinery (eg chainsaws, where full protective clothing is essential).
Smoking (effective 1 July 2007)
All premises, which are wholly or substantially enclosed and used as a place of work by more than one person, are now smoke free. 'No smoking' signs must be displayed at the public entrance to the premises. Take reasonable steps to ensure that staff, customers etc are aware that smoking is not permitted. Ensure that no one smokes in smoke-free premises or vehicles.
Arrangements are recommended to be in place covering adverse weather eg lightning strike and icy and slippery conditions underfoot.
The risk from falling trees, for instance in high winds or through decay or structural weakness, should be assessed and appropriate precautions taken. A periodic inspection is recommended to identify those trees that could cause personal harm through showing such signs. The frequency of inspection will depend upon a number of factors including location (number of people passing by) etc.
As of the 1 September 2005, all organisations that store significant amounts of oil must take steps to ensure accidental spillage or leakage doesn't result in pollution of the environment. This is enforced by the Environment Agency.