Chapter 19 SAFE WORKING PRACTICES
The cause of Accidents and Health & Safety can be boiled down to 4
factors - each is essential and each must be considered at every risk
- are the premises adequately maintained and in a fit condition for
- is the equipment adequately maintained and in a fit condition for
- are the staff trained in the use of the equipment and materials?
- are there established SAFE WORKING PRACTICES for the use of that
equipment or material
In this chapter I would like to consider Safe Working
Many large companies and local authorities already have booklets
detailing their work practices - many I have looked at are impractical and so
cannot and will not be carried out in the field. It is essential that a Safe
Work Practice, as detailed, must be able to be carried out and it is a
Management duty of the Supervisor/ Manager to insist on its being carried
Let us take an item of equipment:
- WHO CAN USE this equipment ? - I suggest only those who are
trained in its use and who know how to work it - this brings in the difficult
area of Staff Training.
- WHERE SHOULD IT BE USED? - Where should it not be used? Is
there any better way of completing the work - e.g. could a rotary mower be
- Is there any particular Risk we should be assessing for this work ? -
- If we have to use it, what PERSONAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING should
- Can we confirm that the Protective clothing will protect in its
circumstances of use?
- BEFORE USE
- List the checks which should be carried out before use.
- DURING USE
- List the things to do or look out for during use
- AFTER USE
- List the checks carried out after use including storage
instructions if necessary
If we take as an example the
use of a strimmer;
- WHO CAN USE this equipment :
- Staff trained in its use - if you allow your staff to use
equipment or materials for which they have not been trained, then it could be
taken that you personally have judged him competent - in the event of an
accident YOUR competence as a manager would also be questioned.
- WHERE SHOULD IT BE USED?
- :The strimmer is used on long grass, especially on slopes and
grass areas which are not even and may have posts etc. in them.
- Where should it not be used?
- Loose stones etc. are a particular hazard and may prevent the
use of this equipment.
- Is there any better way of completing the work?
- Similarly in areas of dogs dirt it would be advisable to use
a rotary mower as we would not wish to expose our employee to any hazard from
Dogs' Dirt - toxocara etc.
- Is there any particular Risk we should be assessing for this work ?
- e.g. Noise
- I have examined the noise from a range of Strimmers and found
it to be around 100 to 110 dB. This means that for the general use, EAR PLUGS
ARE NOT ADEQUATE and ear defenders are essential.
- If we have to use it, what PROTECTIVE CLOTHING should we use?
- I would recommend the composite hat, defender and eye
protection as being the best option - use of separate items has been shown to
decrease the protection of the ear defenders as it does not allow them to bed
down on the face properly. I would also recommend a boilersuit coverall and
boots with good tread. Toe protection is essential if a blade is used instead
of the nylon string.
- Can we confirm that the Protective clothing will protect in
its circumstances of use? See above
Finally you must make it clear to your employee how seriously you regard
this and that Disciplinary action will be taken if they fail to carry it out
SAFE WORKING PRACTICE
ALL OPERATORS OF STRIMMERS & BRUSHCUTTERS
The purpose of this guide is to highlight safe working practices for the
use of strimmers & brushcutters - IT MUST NOT BE TREATED AS A SUBSTITUTE
FOR TRAINING - All persons engaged in the use of strimmers and brushcutters
must receive appropriate training
PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT
- Operators must wear Safety Boots incorporating steel toe-caps, a
Safety Helmet incorporating eye and ear protection, and gloves.
- Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing
- Never allow children or untrained operators to operate the
- check fuel and oil levels, and air cleaner
- learn controls and know how to start and stop the machine in any
- lubricate all grease/ oil points
- ensure all shields/ guards are undamaged and secured in place
- check the condition and security of the blades. Ensure the cord
length is 150mm for efficient operation
- hold the machine firmly when starting and ensure the blade is clear
of the ground and is not a danger to others.
- operate the machine from RIGHT to LEFT
- keep a sharp lookout for obstacles
- never make adjustments/ repairs with the engine running - other than
carburettor adjustments. Always switch off and remove the plug lead.
- never touch any moving parts
- disconnect the plug lead if leaving the machine unattended
- do not allow anyone within a 10 metre radius of the work area
- cover the blade when transporting or storing
- do not operate for long periods without a break
- take extra care when working on slippery surfaces
- stop engine when filling petrol tank
- do not fill petrol tank on a grass surface
THE CLUB PLACES GREAT IMPORTANCE ON EVERYONE'S SAFETY :
FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH ANY OF THE ABOVE MAY RESULT IN DISCIPLINARY
- clean machine thoroughly
- examine the machine for loose or damaged components and replace
- complete the LOG BOOK and report defects
In the event of an accident, amongst the first questions asked are
- is the operator competent?
- did he/she comply with the Safe Working Practice?
- can you, the employer, prove it?