Post-season safety

Many aspects of your work as a golf course superintendent are dictated by the season. I don’t mean golf season, I mean the meteorological seasons. Not just the dates on the calendar, but first frost, last frost, soil temperatures, number of growing degree days, daylight hours and other weather-related factors that change as earth makes its annual trip around the sun — a busy season and what is often referred to as the offseason.

When it starts, and just how “off” your offseason is, depends on where you’re located, but many superintendents are about to enter the fall season. This usually means less time spent on routine maintenance, and more time for projects, equipment maintenance and restoration. It also means you’ll have time to catch up on various administrative tasks such as budget preparation; employee evaluations; inventory and ordering chemicals and supplies; evaluating and updating safety programs. But before I go any further, I want to be perfectly clear on this — safety training is not an offseason task. The full benefits of safety training are only realized when you hold regularly scheduled training sessions throughout the year.

OK, so safety training is important throughout the year, but there are some other safety practices that are well suited for your offseason. For any program to be successful over the long haul, it should be evaluated periodically to identify what’s working and what’s not. One of the best ways to evaluate your safety program is to review your record of accidents and injuries through the year. You are keeping a written record of work-related injuries, aren’t you?

OSHA forms 300, 300A and 301
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says keeping track of work-related injuries and illnesses, and annually reviewing that record, can help you prevent accidents in the future. That is one of the reasons OSHA requires employers to fill out form 300 for any workplace injury that results in:

  • Days away from work.
  • Restricted work or transfer to another job.
  • Medical treatment beyond first aid.
  • Loss of consciousness.

A significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional.
I know what you’re thinking, “oh no, not another government form to fill out.” But contrary to what you’d expect from government paperwork, this one is organized and easy to fill in. You simply record the name of the person injured, when and where the injury happened, the nature of the injury, and if any work days were missed. Keep in mind, some injury or illness information can be considered personal and confidential. There are guidelines…