Chapter 1 An Introduction to Health & Safety

Over the past 25 years we have seen the Regulations under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 being enacted to clear up all the old inconsistencies of multitude of different laws. The laws we are now working under have changed in some cases beyond recognition - an evolution of health & safety!

In that time there has been a huge wadge of Health & Safety related Legislation enacted, principally because of European Directives - Regulations on Pesticides, Noise, COSHH, Management, Welfare, Use of Work Equipment, Personal Protective Equipment, Manual Handling, Safety Signs, Fire Safety and many others have come through to control our workplace. It is a measure of the speed of change when we see several of these regulations have been updated within five to ten years of their first enactment.

My aim in these pages is not a re-iteration of the legislation, although this will be necessary to some extent, but to help those managing sports turf, the Club Secretary, the Head Groundsman, and Head Greenkeeper, tackle the task of Managing Health & Safety.

I believe that the Greenkeeper is a practical man who knows more by virtue of experience on site and plain common sense, than any visitor can learn in an hour on site. However help may sometimes be necessary, either from a consultant, or from attending courses, or from reading trade magazines, as the legislation is often complex.

Under the MANAGING HEALTH & SAFETY REGULATIONS 1992, all employers must organise their approach to Health & Safety.

This may require you to :

  1. write of a SAFETY POLICY
  2. set up an ORGANISATION PLAN to establish who is responsible for what.
  3. Make ARRANGEMENTS (systems that must be set up to ensure the risks are at an acceptable level and not liable to occur)
  4. carry out RISK ASSESSMENTS (Identification of these hazards and risks),
  5. MONITOR AND REVIEW ( how often the systems are checked, with re-examination should changes occur) and keeping
  6. keep RECORDS (recording who, why, when, where, what, which, and how as appropriate)

If you are an employer, the first question to ask is - do you employ 5 or more employees? - if you do, then all your work will have to be written. If you employ 4 or less employees, the actions etc. still have to be taken but do not have to be written. If, however, you are involved in any accident, you may find it difficult to prove your innocence, and your Insurance Company may not appreciate it. Remember to include all paid staff - including cleaners, orderlies, caddies, etc.

There is now a raft of legislation requiring us to do things regarding Health & Safety. These are based on the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 - also known as HASAWA.

This legislation was brought in to form a firm foundation for Health & Safety in the workplace. It provided for the gradual replacement of existing health & safety requirements by revised and updated provisions, in the form a system of regulations and approved codes of practice prepared in consultation with industry.

The Act has general duties which, with the avalanche of other regulations etc., should not be forgotten.

HASAWA- Section 2

Employers have a general duty under the Act to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees

  1. Maintaining safe plant and safe systems of work
  2. Ensuring the safe use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances
  3. Providing adequate instruction training and supervision
  4. Maintaining safe premises and other places of work
  5. Providing a safe environment and adequate welfare arrangements

European Directives have meant that the extent of the ' reasonable' requirements have now been detailed, or will be, in forthcoming regulations and Codes of Practice.

The 'new' regulations are all based on


firstly identify and list HAZARDS

(hazard is the potential to cause harm)

then assess RISKS

(risk is the likelihood of it happening in your circumstances of use).

The regulations then detail the steps we must go through in our Risk Assessment.

  1. Can we
    • substitute is there a safer product or working practice?
    • or eliminate do we need to carry this out work at all?
  2. Can we control
    • by Administration - e.g. exclusion from hazard
    • by Engineering- e.g. by designing the equipment to be intrinsically safe
  3. Only after this can we consider PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
    • what PPE is applicable
    • what specification is required
    • what protection will it give in time and amount of exposure

At this point we should have reached a stage that the risk is low enough to be acceptable, if not we must start again and consider further controls. We should not carry out any task until we have reduced the risk until it is acceptable.

So the overall approach is now :

Captain Hazards
Secretary Risk Assessment
Head Greenkeeper Welfare
Club Steward Buildings & Fabric
Greens Convenor Fire
First Aid
Fixed Equipment
COSHH Assessments
COSHH Pesticides
Equipment Safety
Safe Working Practices
Personal Protective Equipment
Storage of Fuel
Storage of Pesticides
Young People
Handling Equipment
Manual Handling
Noise Assessment
VDU (Computer) Assessment
Construction Design Management - CDM
Safety Audit

Some are under the delusion that employing self-employed sub-contractors means that they need take no thought of Health & Safety. However there is a Duty of Care to others detailed in Health & Safety at Work Act Section 3(1).

Employers must, so far as reasonably practicable, have regard for the Health & Safety of Self employed or contractors employees who may be working close to their own employees; also for the health & safety of the public who may be affected by their firms activities. Employers must, so far as reasonably practicable, conduct their activities so as to ensure that people other than their employees, for example, members of the public, are not exposed to risks to health & safety

Similarly HASAWA Section 3(2) places a duty on the self employed to avoid danger or risk to health of other people or to themselves.

Basically the sum and total of the whole of the Health & Safety Legislation is -


The rest is merely the means to achieve this!!