A club should ensure that positive measures are in place in the workplace where employees may be exposed to potential work related diseases.
Or where they could be impacted upon by land/equipment hazards:
- Dirty sharp implements used for work activities.
- Watercourses i.e. lakes, ponds or streams.
- Handling of used sharps which may be contaminated with infectious material.
Measures must be in place to prevent transmission of disease. As a minimum the following controls should be in place in order to protect potentially exposed members of staff as much as possible:
- The availability of personal protective equipment particularly gloves, overalls and robust footwear.
- Documented briefings on potential infectious conditions that the members of staff could be exposed to as part of their activities.
- The availability of plasters and adequately waterproof dressing for cuts and grazes.
- Instruction on good personal hygiene particularly the washing of hands prior to any drinking, eating or smoking.
Potential Work-related Diseases (Greenkeeping)
There are a number of work-related diseases that Greenkeeping staff can be exposed to. Other than providing sufficient controls to protect them from these infections it is important that they also understand the common symptoms of these infections and where applicable they inform their GP's or other doctors of their occupation so that these types of infections can be investigated.
More commonly known as Weil's disease is generally an infection that is contracted whilst working in or around water courses and is transmitted via rodent urine. The infection is usually transmitted via contaminated water into an open wound or the mucous membranes. The infection can be fatal and it is important that Greenkeepers understand the flu like symptoms Further information on Leptospirosis and providing workers with a Leptospirosis card can be found on the HSE web site http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg84.pdf
This infection is transmitted from tick bites and can be particularly debilitating. It is important that when working in thick undergrowth that robust overalls are worn and that a boot or wellington are worn on the feet. Further guidance on ticks & lymes disease can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/552740/Ticksandyourhealthinfoabouttickbites.pdf
Tetanus is generally introduced into the system following a cut to the skin from a dirty or rusty tool. You can be inoculated for tetanus but there has been a tendency from GP's and health boards to not offer tetanus boosters due to the risk from anaphylaxis with boosters now generally offered as a reactive treatment in the immediate aftermath of a cut from a rusty or dirty tool. Further information can be found here - http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/healthrisks/hazardous-substances/harmful-micro-organisms/tetanus.htm
Where breathable water aerosols are formed e.g. use of a power pressure washer from water contaminated by the legionella bacterium Legionnaires disease can be contracted. Whilst this is extremely rare from working around watercourses it is more common within irrigation systems, so it is important that these types of systems are used when there are no staff or golfers on the course to inhale potentially breathable water aerosols. Further information can be found here - http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/what-is.htm
The main requirements to managed infection control are:
- Completion of a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.
- Providing suitable information, instruction and training to staff.
- Providing information to any persons affected by risks of infection on the course.
- To ensure that staff members have the appropriate personal protective equipment and are shown how to wear and maintain it.
- To carry out routine health surveillance for staff who may be at higher risk of exposure because of their duties.
- Maintenance of all sources of water in relation to protected persons legionnaires disease.
- Reporting any infection disease incidents directly to the HSE in accordance with RIDDOR 2013.
Questions to Consider
- Are good hygiene practices carried out?
- Is monitoring of staff conducted on staff who may be at more risk to infectious diseases?
- Is appropriate CE marked personal protective equipment given to all staff?
- Has a risk assessment been carried out on water systems in relation to legionella?
- Are staff aware of the symptoms of diseases they could be affected with, in associated with their job activities?
The above guidance provides an introduction on the main requirements needed to adequately manage this health and safety topic. If you require further guidance, risk assessments or template documentation on this subject please consult your relevant full guidance health and safety website (BIGGA, England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf). If you do not hold the log in details for this website, for your club, please speak to your golf club management team to identify who the account administrator is and request the details.