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Chapter 5 WELFARE


Napoleon is said to have remarked that 'an army marches on its stomach'. It is easy to dismiss this as hearsay but the old generals had to have an understanding of motivation and dedication of their troops otherwise discipline would decline and failure in their campaigns would result.

Any good employer looks after their workforce, but sometimes, because of circumstances, the employer may think that some things are not required.

The Factories Act detailed the requirements in factories, the Offices, Shops And Railway Premises Act detailed the requirements in offices, shops, etc. The groundsman and golf greenkeeper were not classed under either of these headings and to some extent were left behind in welfare provisions.

In 1992 this situation was redressed and since 1st January 1993, all new or modified workplaces have to achieve basic standards under the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992. Existing workplaces had until 1st January 1996 to bring themselves up to standard.

A brief overview of the regulations shows that many things now have to be considered which have been ignored in the past by many grounds' committees and greens' convenors.

VENTILATION

Enclosed workplaces should be sufficiently well ventilated so that stale or contaminated air, is replaced at a reasonable rate. Dust and fumes should be controlled (under the COSHH Regulations). Welding, soil sterilisation and compost mixing will all have to be considered.

TEMPERATURE

During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable. Reasonable is suggested as providing reasonable comfort without need for special clothing - 16º Celsius for normal workrooms and at least 13º Celsius if the work involves severe physical effort. A thermometer must be provided to enable workers to determine the temperature of the workplace. Work outside in cold conditions require the employer to provide cold weather gear.

LIGHTING

Every workplace shall have suitable and sufficient lighting this should be as far as reasonably practicable from natural light. Different work will require different light regimes - basically being able to work safely and without eyestrain. In pesticide stores it is suggested that the minimum is that operators should be able to read labels and identify leaks - around 100 lux.

In offices it is suggested better lighting is required - around 300 to 400 lux. In drawing offices it is suggested 600 lux may be more appropriate. On stairs, light should be provided such that shadows are not cast over the main part of the tread. If light is natural through windows and skylights, these must be kept clean in order that the maximum amount of light is obtained.

CLEANLINESS AND WASTE MATERIALS

Every workplace and the furniture, furnishings and fittings shall be kept sufficiently clean. Waste materials should not be allowed to accumulate except in suitable receptacles - floors and other indoor traffic routes should be cleaned at least once a week.

Walls should be kept clean - and should be of a surface material that can be cleaned

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ROOM DIMENSIONS AND SPACE

Every room where persons work shall have sufficient floor area, height and unoccupied space for purposes of health, safety and welfare. In an office the requirement is a minimum of 11 cubic metres per person - heights above 3.0m should count as 3.0 metres.

Please note that this does not include Retail sales kiosks, attendants' shelters, or similar small structures where space is necessarily limited.

WORKSTATIONS AND SEATING

Should be suitable for its purpose and people using it.

CONDITION OF FLOORS AND TRAFFIC ROUTES

Should be suitable for its purpose and people using it. This involves taking care of holes, bumps, slopes, steps, wet surfaces, indeed anything which could cause anyone to trip and fall.

FALLS OR FALLING OBJECTS

This looks at fencing tanks, etc. as well as ladders, work on roofs, changes in level, stacking, racking, loading & unloading vehicles, and scaffolding

SANITARY CONVENIENCES & WASHING FACILITIES

Suitable and sufficient sanitary conveniences and washing facilities shall be provided at readily accessible places. These should be in the vicinity of any changing rooms and include a supply of hot and cold running water, soap, towels or other means of drying, ventilation, with separate facilities for men and women or used by only one person at a time.

DRINKING WATER

Adequate supply of wholesome drinking water shall be provided for all persons at work in the workplace - readily accessible, conspicuously marked and cups provided unless it is a water jet.

ACCOMMODATION FOR CLOTHING

For own clothing which is not worn during working - as a minimum a separate hook or peg for each worker - separate accommodation for personal protective equipment which is likely to be wet or contaminated.

FACILITIES FOR CHANGING

If a person has to wear special clothing for the purposes of work, suitable and sufficient facilities must be provided

FACILITIES FOR REST AND EATING MEALS

A place to eat which is not contaminated - by pesticides, chemicals or smoke for the non-smoker. Smoking should be prohibited unless a separate area or room is provided for non-smokers

TEMPORARY WORK SITES

Are sites used only infrequently or for short periods (this takes in fairs and other structures which occupy a site for a short period).

All the above must be considered with the proviso that sanitary conveniences, washing facilities, drinking water, clothing accommodation changing facilities and facilities for rest and eating meals apply 'as far as reasonably practicable'.

The best of the grounds and golf courses I visit would fail on several of the above - some would be hard pushed to pass on any. Please do not ignore it. Your employer must be told about it now so that he can include improvements in his 1995/96 budget. He has until the 1st January 1996 - that is less than a year away!!!!

Reference

HSE Leaflets on Health & Welfare

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