Late August and early September sees many courses not only carrying out mowing and aeration tasks, with all the mechanical and operational risks involved, but also treating courses with chemicals and pesticides. So what sort of risks need to be managed?

With anything mechanical there are the risks that you might anticipate.  You need to ensure that greenkeeping staff know how to operate the equipment safely, particularly if it jams or has some issue that they then try to address.  Safety guards need to be put in place, along with any specific safety instructions applicable to the equipment being used. 

If loud noise accompanies the task, the right ear protection needs to be provided and worn.  If the course maintenance work sees greenkeepers coming into the field of play, extra precautions need to be put in place, to ensure that players do not injure greenkeepers who may be crossing the course during their round.  Course etiquette can be vital in these circumstances.

When it comes to chemicals, fertilisers and pesticides, COSHH regulations need to be adhered to. Many such substances can be hazardous to health and greenkeepers must be instructed in their correct use and application.  Breathing masks and eye protectors may need to be worn, along with protective suiting, to prevent burns or skin reactions.  Weather conditions may need to be considered before using some substances. Potential mpacts on the public and club members also need to be built into strategies.

The storage of substances is also key.  It may be essential to segregate some chemicals from others and also store some in containers, according to what the manufacturer advises.  Heat sources will probably need to be kept away from such materials, but this could also include the heat of the sun coming through a window, or heat build-up in a confined area.  Spillages, splits in canisters and plastic tubs and seeping materials could all present risks.

Such product management often requires the input of a consultant viewing things impartially and without any relaxed attitudes that may have been developed over the years in which “nothing bad has ever happened.”  Familiarity can be a foe in such situations and, with ever-changing formulas, what was used in a certain way five years ago may not be safe now.

If you recognise that a professional needs to view your procedures, plant, storage facilities, training programmes, administration and more, to provide you with robust risk management strategy and practices, please call 0113 244 8686 asking for Brian Goulding, or email