The death of a golf course manager in Leicestershire in 2013, led to his employer (the golf course) being fined £75,000 and charged a further £75,000 in costs last year and the judgement encompassed a vital message for clubs who may think they have taken every safety precaution.

Whilst the club concerned was found culpable for allowing a lone worker to operate a chainsaw at night and without safety helmet/protective gear, an issue relating to pre-employment checks was also raised.

The club claimed that it had believed its employee had previously received chainsaw training, whilst employed at other courses, basing this on the CV and information provided at the time of his recruitment. They believed such training had taken place at two other clubs at which he had previously worked, but nobody had checked that such information was correct.

The fact that the judge mentioned this issue during sentencing demonstrates how important it is for any employer to verify what they are told by an employee when that employee is going through the recruitment process. This is even more essential when their future role involves what can be life-threatening risks, as was the case here.

Pre-employment checks must be part of any robust golf club risk management programme and no club should think they can afford to take an employee at their word. Make those checks, contact referees, ask to see relevant certification and ensure that what you believe to be the case is actually factually correct. As the Leicestershire club discovered to their cost, not doing so can result in loss, heartache, reputational damage and financial cost.

Call 0113 244 8686 or email info@gauntlethealthandsafety.com for further advice.

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