Ecologic International and Phillip McKiernan offer information on the challenges encountered at golf courses involving hazardous substances and personal safety.
Workplace hazardous substances and personal safety, coupled together, are two main safety challenges encountered by many industries, particularly on the Golf Course.
According to Phillip McKiernan, the organisation must first have the storages and handling of chemicals or dangerous goods compliant and only then can the personnel safety compliance issues be solved.
If otherwise, one cannot solve the personnel safety issues, despite of the number of policies and procedures, support documentation or Council Approvals he may have.
In order to solve Personnel OHS issues and issues like Environmental compliance, one has to first address the physical storage issues.
At a Golf facility, there is generally the need for a chemical mix/load, a machinery washdown area and a rinse facility along with fuel storage facilities. These are normally in the form of underground or above the ground tanks.
The kind of facility or treatment systems needed to cover all compliances, liabilities and obligations is always a challenge.
Some people try and integrate all the spillages and waste into one system. Though there are some good systems available, there is the need for one system that can envelop all the requirements of a Golf Course maintenance facility. Hence, a combination of treatment systems is required.
It is common knowledge that the process of mixing certain chemicals, waste products and dangerous goods can have outcomes that may be potentially dangerous and fatal for personnel as well as the equipment.
Hence there is a need to keep some of the dangerous goods and chemicals separated. In general, the dangerous goods and chemicals should not be mixed, be collected in the same tank, share the same drainage system or the same compounds for treatment or disposal.
Different Golf Course sites may have different ways to decide how to keep these apart and which ones to keep apart.
For example, the spill out of neat chemical product into a wash water treatment system can result in equipment failure as well as environmental damage or an OHS issue that may be caused due to the discharge from the failed equipment. Severe penalties apply for non-compliance issues with regards to OHS, environmental and dangerous goods.
One item of knowledge, Phillip McKiernan finds missing during his audits, is that, the plant and equipment being washed down may contain non-compatible chemicals and dangerous goods, including class 6 and 8 chemicals and oil, fuel residue or neat fuel spillages.
Fuel is a Class 3 flammable Liquid and has the potential of fire and explosion when mixed, stored or processed in waste systems not designed to handle these products.
Phillip McKiernan relates that any systems installed must cope with these hazards. They must be designed correctly and should not rely heavily on operator input or instructions to provide compliance.
Hence you may have two systems, if not three systems, to cope with the chemical mixtures that may be present.
- One system for the washdown of general golf course machinery,
- One system for the fuel storages and
- One system for the chemical mixing, loading and rinse out area
As mentioned above, care must be taken not to mix process or store non-compatible products together. Each Golf Course’s requirements may be different and they may use slightly different chemicals, however in general, they are similar in their treatment requirements.
It is not a simple task to cover all legislation, environmental, OHS, council and dangerous goods requirements; therefore professional help should be sought.
A simple site compliance audit, can generally give you enough guidance, on what systems may be required to prevent non-compliances or hazardous situations occurring with the safety of personnel or with the waste and washdown systems.