As a superintendent, you juggle many responsibilities, and the safety of your crew is right at the top of the list. Your team works around sources of hazardous energy daily, posing risks of electric shocks, entanglement, and faulty combustion engines. In fact, nearly 10% of serious accidents in the workplace are a result of the
While they may seem small and harmless, the portable tools used in golf maintenance pose a myriad of hazards. Thus, it’s important that you and your crew are aware of the hazards and precautions needed to use gas and power tools such as string trimmers, hedge trimmers, and leaf blowers.
When using these tools, your crew is exposed to hazards such as falling, flying or splashing objects. Just imagine what can happen when a string trimmer throws a stone… did you know that a trimmer could eject objects at a speed of over 200 miles per hour?
Objects suspended or thrown by these tools can also compromise your crew’s safety. Thus, it’s imperative that your crew is aware of these hazards, and that they take the necessary safety precautions to protect themselves from these hazards.
As an employer, your main responsibilities include ensuring that your crew is trained, providing personal protective equipment, and maintaining all tools in safe and usable conditions. Personal protective equipment may include safety goggles and gloves, long pants, as well as any other equipment outlined in the operator’s manual.
The following are a few general safety guidelines your crew should keep in mind:
- Always prioritize safety
- Don’t use a tool unless you are trained and authorized to do so
- Use the right tool for the job
- Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines
- Wear any PPE required
- Examine the tool for damage before use
- Never use a damaged tool
- Never use a tool while under the influence of mind-altering substances
It’s important that you stress the importance of focusing on working safely when using these tools. Safety should always be a top priority, and everyone should understand that no deadline is more pressing than their safety. In fact, rushing through the job could put them at greater risk.
Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment and clothing worn on the job can also go a long way in protecting your crew. Consider developing a PPE guideline that includes the following:
- Wear all PPE required by the instructor’s manual
- Wear close-fitting clothes
- Do not wear jewelry
- Wear long pants
- Wear sturdy boots
- Keep long hair pulled back
The PPE required for these tools may include safety glasses, face shields, hearing protection, long pants, and leather gloves.
Depending on the equipment used and the noise levels your crew is exposed to, they may need to use hearing protection such as ear muffs or ear plugs. We recommend using a dosimeter to measure noise levels at each worksite, and then developing your policy on hearing protection.
As a rule of thumb, your crew should use hearing protection anytime they need to raise their voice to communicate with someone who is three feet away.
Personal protective equipment, safety training, and periodic maintenance of equipment are the most important factors both to ensure safety and to ensure compliance with OSHA.
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