Safety can be 'built in' to your workplace.

In writing these pages I try to answer the current questions that people are asking me about Health and Safety and respond with some advice or at least an identification of the problem.

Many Golf Clubs this year are now looking at building a new Greenkeeping Facility and wonder what they should be looking for in terms of content and size. I would suggest that we must look at welfare of the staff, offices for head greenkeeper, storage of materials and storage of equipment. There is also a requirement for the services and infrastructure of modern greenkeeping - petrol, diesel, wash bays, compost bays, and a staff car park

The standard 18 hole course now employs around six greenkeeping staff and has equipment valued at around £200,000. The turnover is on average £300,000, which in anyone's language is a good business. It is only fitting that this business has a facility to match.

I suggest the following are the basic standards we should be looking for - tweaked to individual circumstances.

The total area required for the yard is around 50 metres by 50 metres - 2500 square metres.

The building itself should be built on a concrete pad 30 metres by 30 metres. The building is built on one side of this pad and should be around 30 metres by 20 metres. This means that there is an outside pad of 30 metres by 10 metres at the front of the building, which is used as the wash bay and entrance area. · it is now essential that the wash bay is an area in which it is possible to properly clean the equipment. Clean equipment is easily greased, maintained and adjusted and will have less breakdowns. The consideration of the correct drainage for this facility is essential on environmental grounds.

Inside, at one end of the building, twenty metres by five metres, there is an internal building to cater for the now essential aspects of Greenkeeping - a workshop store, head greenkeeper's office, messroom, locker room, toilets, showers, and drying room. · these are now essential requirements for greenkeeping staff,.

Under recent legislation, it will be required that the building including toilets, are able to cater for the disabled. The rest of the building is marked out for,

Outside, usually apart from the building, is a diesel store and a petrol store, or perhaps underground tanks for these · the diesel tank should now be a double skinned tank with entry at the top for filling the tank and an electric pump for emptying the tank - switched from inside the building. This means that the integral skin of the tank is not breached below the level of the diesel and the environmental considerations complied with

Outside there should also be a building for composts and sand. · this usually takes the form of walled bays of around four metres by five metres depth with walls to a height of two metres. There are usually two or three bays required. If the bays are to have a roof, a gap of one metre should be left to allow the air to pass and control the dust. Remember to make the roof high enough to take the loader. You also may have to protect the building with bollards at the uprights and corners.

The provision of a car park for the staff is not a frivolous one and parking bays should be set out to cater for the number of staff plus at least two.

The building can be of a standard farm type structure of steel profile sheeting, an internal concrete block structure, all built on a concrete pad. The cost should work out at around £100,000 - £140,000 depending on specification and area.

To cut back on size of the building has proved in many cases to be false economy, and has resulted in the club having to construct additional buildings for fertiliser or for small equipment within a year of opening. For this reason, try to arrange that the areas beyond the back wall and the end wall opposite the welfare facilities, be kept clear for future expansion if required.

The head greenkeeper should be involved at all stages, as he/she has an intimate knowledge of the requirements of the facility and, if given the opportunity, can provide a much needed practical input.

The cost of the facility is one that Golf Committees will discuss at length. They must bear in mind their legal obligations to the staff as well as their responsibilities to look after valuable equipment and materials. If they consider the life time of the building, writing it off over ten years, the cost becomes acceptable.