In the last chapter we looked at the approach to Manual Handling.
One of the first questions asked was if there was a better Mechanical Handling method - and if so, and it was possible, then it was recommended we change to it. So in this chapter, I would like to discuss MECHANICAL HANDLING.
In the past groundsmen and greenkeepers were expected to engage in hours of lifting & handling loads of fertilisers etc. Nowadays we should plan our work and consider the use of a Forklift Truck or a Tractor with a front bucket & forks.
This is a total management change for most golf courses and sports grounds and may involve some financial outlay.
At the start of all planning we must consider the problem - where are we likely to have a problem of Manual Handling? - I suggest there are 5 critical areas which must be looked at :
1. Delivery of fertiliser This can be resolved by ordering in 25kg bags and having these delivered on pallets. The pallets can unloaded very efficiently with a Forklift or Tractor with front bucket & forks. The manual handling is thus restricted to loading the fertiliser spreader. This work is not repetitive and individual loads kept to acceptable levels.
Another alternative, and the one often used in agriculture, is to order in 500kg packs, handle by forklift and load by forklift to give a full load for the fertiliser spreader. No manual handling is required.
Both systems have removed the need for a lot of manual handling.
2. Delivery and laying of Turf This can be delivered on pallets and handled with Forklift or Tractor forks. The use of large turf rolls and specialised equipment for laying can eliminate manual handling completely.
3. Delivery and spreading of Compost Compost can be delivered in bulk and handled with a Tractor & front bucket, and transported with a Tractor trailer or loaded directly into the compost spreader.
4. Ditch digging for laying cables & pipes This can be carried out using a Digger or Tractor with a backhoe and the transport of arisings or gravel by Tractor trailer.
5. Minor lifting and transporting around the course/ sportsground This is now carried out using the Truckster and box, box on the Tractor 3-point link or Tractor & trailer. This has eliminated the use of wheelbarrows.
The use of Handling Equipment brings its own questions.
PREMISES Is the yard flat or is it potholed? - potholed yards are not good for the use of Fork Lift or Tractor front buckets Is there plenty of room to use the equipment? - tractor front buckets need quite a bit of room to manoeuvre - usually at the side of a lorry!
EQUIPMENT Is the equipment capable of taking the load? - equipment should be rated and the figures considered before lifting starts - an annual check on lifting equipment is usually mandatory by your Insurance Company.
TRAINING Are your staff trained for the operations being asked of them? - there are several levels of training required, all depending on equipment used - I suggest you contact your local College or LANTRA Provider for details. There are courses and certification available for Agricultural Tractors, Forklift Trucks and Diggers with backhoe
SAFE WORKING PRACTICE Again as usual, we should be considering the safe working practices to be required at your workplace.
SAFE WORKING PRACTICE
FORK LIFT TRUCKS
The purpose of this guide is to highlight safe working practices for the use of FORK LIFT TRUCKS - IT MUST NOT BE TREATED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR TRAINING
All persons engaged in the use of FORK LIFT TRUCKS must always work under the direct and personal supervision of his lecturer/ instructor. Only those who have attended a Formal Training Course to ATB or other approved standards can use the forklift unsupervised.
PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT
THE CLUB PLACES GREAT IMPORTANCE ON EVERYONE'S SAFETY : FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH ANY OF THE ABOVE MAY RESULT IN DISCIPLINARY ACTION
As a final consideration we should look at accidents involving Handling Equipment on the golf course and comparable areas.
Principal among these is :
Have you considered these (and done anything about them!) on your golf course or sportsground??