Coronavirus advice for Welsh greenkeepers
UPDATE 12 JANUARY 2021
Although Wales Golf have pledged to continue arguing the case that golf can be played in a completely COVID-safe manner during the current Tier 4 restrictions - equivalent to a lockdown - golf courses remain closed to the golfer.
BIGGA has produced guidance relating to the current situation, which highlights that greenkeeping teams are able to continue with the regular maintenance that is required at a golf course during the winter season to prepare it for a busy summer season, so long as social distancing and other safety measures are implemented.
Best practice measures that were implemented last year should continue and further information relevant to golf greenkeeping operations can be found in the original post below.
ORIGINAL POST 16 OCTOBER 2020
The implementation of a 17-day 'circuit breaker' lockdown in Wales will see golf courses and other leisure venues close to the public.
For greenkeepers in Wales, there will be a return to the 'Essential Maintenance' guidelines that were produced by BIGGA and The R&A during the initial national lockdown earlier this year.
Safe routine maintenance practices for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Routine maintenance practices can continue, providing safe working practices are in place that are in line with Government safe working guidelines, and all golf facilities implement stringent measures to ensure staff members are not at risk.
The number of greenkeeping staff and the amount of time they spend at work should be tailored to fit with safe working practices.
These include but are not limited to:
- Focus on hygiene and social distancing
- Ensure staff members work separately
- Allocate individual machinery to one worker only
- If multiple staff are on site, then stagger working hours and break times
- Limit or prohibit use of communal areas
- Regularly disinfect any surface that is contacted e.g. door handles, fuel pumps, communal machinery
- Ensure there is a robust lone working policy
The Welsh Government has provided five key steps to keep employees safe at work
1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
Carry out a risk assessment through meaningful discussion with staff and their recognised trade union and share the results with your workforce.
You should have particular regard to whether the people doing the work are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
Risk assessments are a legal requirement for pregnant women no matter the size of the business.
2. Help staff to work from home whenever possible
3. Take action to ensure that 2m physical distancing is maintained between people on your premises, where possible
Where working from home is not reasonably practicable, those responsible for workplaces or for premises open to the public must ensure that everything reasonable is done to maintain a 2m distance between people on the premises while they are working, including outdoor locations.
This is a legal requirement in Wales under the Coronavirus Regulations. Those responsible must have regard to the Statutory Guidance, which has been issued to help you understand what ‘taking all reasonable measures’ means and what to do if it is not possible to maintain a distance of 2m in certain circumstances.
4. Implement other measures to reduce the risk of exposure
Take all reasonable measures to minimise exposure to COVID-19, for example by:
- Limiting the level of face-to-face interaction
- Using physical barriers
- Increased hygiene, environmental cleanliness and providing reminders about the importance of hygiene
- Washing hands well for 20 seconds with soap and drying thoroughly, or using alcohol based hand gels, before and after close contact
- Minimising loud noises which will require people to shout over them
The Welsh Government has issued Statutory Guidance on taking all reasonable measures to minimise exposure to COVID-19 to which you must have regard.
Failing to take reasonable measures to minimise exposure to coronavirus is an offence in Wales, which on conviction may lead to a fine.
5. Actively implement Test, Trace, Protect in the workplace
Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) works by:
Testing those people who have COVID-19 symptoms and asking them to isolate while taking a test and waiting for a result
Tracing those individuals who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive for COVID-19, requiring them to take precautions and self-isolate (for 14 days).
Guidance is available for employers in Wales on how to Test, Trace, Protect.