People have been asking me : how do we begin to put together all the information we have been collecting about health & safety - training details, safe working practices, safety checks, protective clothing etc.? In this chapter I would like to start doing just this.

In the last chapter we identified the HAZARDS in Sports Turf - things likely to cause harm to the greenkeeper - and came up with a list of twelve main headings, each of which then was divided into about six sub-headings. This was the start of our RISK ASSESSMENT. Basically Risk Assessment assesses the likelihood of the hazard happening and how we are going to reduce it to acceptable levels in our work circumstances.

The first thing to do is to make up a table with the hazards listed as shown: I have taken the Use of a Pedestrian Mower and looked at it at our workplace.

Your Golf Club    
ACTIVITY   Pedestrian Rotary Mower, Use of a
LOCATION   Grass areas on Golf Course, etc
    Young people to Level 3 would be especially at risk
SIGNIFICANT HAZARDS PHYSICAL Contact with moving machinery - trapping & cutting
    Trapped by something collapsing
    Impact from stones thrown from blades
    Exposure to noise
  CHEMICAL Not Significant
  BIOLOGICAL Not Significant
CONTROL MEASURES PREMISES Work is normally carried out before golfers tee off, otherwise care is taken to avoid being hit by a golf ball
    Good Housekeeping is practiced at all times
    Children are excluded from the work area
    Arrangements are in place in case of accident
  PLANT Equipment is to the EC standard for that task
    Equipment is regularly maintained
    Equipment is checked by the operator before use
  PRACTICES There is a Safe Working Practice for GREENKEEPERS
    There is a Safe Working Practice for the USE OF MOWERS
    The Manufacturers Instruction Booklet is available and should be read by the operator
    The instructions on the equipment should be read by the operator
    The Decals on the equipment are checked at servicing
  PPE Greenkeepers wear overalls and toe-protected boots at all times.
    The wearing of hearing protection is MANDATORY with this equipment
  PEOPLE The operator has been instructed on the equipment
    Operators are trained to Level 2 Standard or above
    An On-site Risk Assessment must be carried out, by the person/s carrying out the work, to confirm that all the actions of a Generic Assessment can be followed and that there are no special circumstances on-site which will alter that assessment.
  No Injury Probable
  Minimum Injury Probable
  Loss time Injury Possible
  RIDDOR 3 day Injury Possible
  Fatal Remote
RISK ASSESSMENT   In view of the above, we assess the risk to be ACCEPTABLE
  Comments Care should be taken on slopes
    Adjustments only to be made when engine is stopped and ignition cable removed
    Untrained young people must be kept away from the equipment and load unless well supervised
Name of Assessor   Head Greenkeeper
Date   30/10/2011

HAZARD : the hazard list should be comprehensive - if an accident happens it should be able to be identified on your list. If it is not, then it must be added and risk assessed immediately. My HAZARD LIST for groundsmen & greenkeepers contains seventy four items.

PEOPLE AFFECTED : This allows us to consider those particularly affected - principally the operator and those around him but also young people, general public, visitors and the environment

RISK : Likelihood of an accident happening. This must be to some extent a subjective evaluation but should also be based on experience and fact - FACT every year tractor operators roll their tractors - this cannot be a remote possibility, it is possible. FACT there are cases of tetanus victims occurring in UK every year but, as we have insisted all staff keep their Tetanus injections up-to-date as a condition of contract, this could be regarded as remote.

WORST CASE SCENARIO : This is again a measure of knowledge and experience - people are killed using tractors each year - the worst case must be fatal. Whereas, from experience and personal knowledge, the expected case is that groundsmen, due perhaps to not working on slopes, better training etc., are more likely to have minimum injury.



This details how you are at present controlling the risk to acceptable levels

PREMISES : This is all the 'umbrella' of things you do to ensure safety in your workplace : Safety Policy, COSHH Assessments, welfare, Lighting, heating, storage of materials, etc.

PLANT : the system you have of the organising the maintenance of equipment, yearly, monthly and daily checks (daily checks are usually included in the Safe Working Practice)

SAFE WORKING PRACTICE : If you have a safe working practice this is obviously one of the foundations of you risk assessment

TRAINING : It is essential that the training has covered the risks likely to be encountered - can you prove your operators are so trained - City & Guilds, SCOTVEC Modules, etc.

PPE : (personal protective equipment) is regarded as the last barrier for protection. It is not enough to say that we give it out but essential we assess the PPE in the work circumstance - does it actually protect the worker ?


If from the above, you can say the risk is now at acceptable levels and accidents are thus unlikely to occur, the risk assessment must be that it is acceptable. If it is not acceptable then each item must be re-examined for improvement so that risks can be brought to an acceptable level. In later articles we will be looking in detail at some of the individual risk assessments.

If an accident happens it should be examined to see where things have failed - was it your judgement of Risk ? or was it a failure in your system ?- all the systems in the world are of no use if everyone ignores them.

Remember to sign the risk assessment, otherwise it is not official.

The above exercise allows us to identify the priorities of risk and means we can allocate our immediate resources to solving the real problems in our workplace.

However please remember, as Robert Burns said "the best laid schemes o' mice and men gang aft agley, an' lea'e us nought be grief an' pain for promis'd joy' - Accidents happen, what we must do is take all reasonable steps to stop them occurring!