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Summer Safety Risks: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Club

June shares two very important titles. It’s the start of the summer season – the time where your club shines. Guests come to spend the day on the golf course, lounge in the pool, or enjoy a cold beverage under the sun. However, the second title is one you may not be as familiar with: National Safety Month.

The goal of National Safety Month is to help prevent unnecessary injuries and deaths at work, on the roads, and in our homes and communities. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to end the threat of an injury occurring at your club, but you can significantly reduce the risk. As your club gets into full swing the summer, keep these safety tips in mind and you can enjoy a claim-free season.

Equipment

From maintenance work done by pickups, mowers, and tractors, to the golf carts your guests use to traverse the course, your club has to keep tabs on a number of vehicles. The responsibility of keeping everyone safe inside and around those vehicles is yours. The first step you can take to fulfill your obligations is to create a strong safety program for members, guests, and employees.

The program should include proper vehicle maintenance. A vehicle in tip-top shape will prevent unnecessary accidents. Have your staff check the following each day:  

  • Battery charge
  • Fuel level
  • Engine fluid levels
  • Tire quality
  • Steering control
  • Horn and reverse indicators
  • Warning lights
  • Brakes and clutch
  • All controls
  • Overhead guards and fire extinguishers
  • Engine sounds

This should be done in addition to what the owner’s manual dictates. If a vehicle passes the inspection, it’s ready for duty.

Once you know your vehicles are in safe, working condition, you should ensure the equipment is only being used by qualified operators. Qualified operators are employees who have a solid understanding of the vehicle’s limitations and safety requirements, as well as know operational best practices. The last thing you need is to put someone in the driver’s seat who is too inexperienced, which could not only result in damage to the equipment and your course, but also injury or even death.

Weather

One event that should ground any vehicle, regardless of its readiness or operator, is lightning. Lightning is also dangerous for your guests and staff. By offering outdoor activities such as golf, tennis, and swimming, your guests and employees are potential victims of lightning strikes. The good news is that some common sense can significantly reduce the risk of this rare, yet deadly, occurrence.

You may need to provide a refresher for your guests and employees on what to do should lightning be spotted. You can do so by placing safety tips in strategic locations around your club. Getting indoors or into a car is the safest way to ride out the storm and should be at the top of this list. However, that’s not always possible. Other recommendations include:

  • Avoid water, including swimming pools and all metal objects.
  • Get off the high ground.
  • Avoid trees.
  • Stay away from other people.
  • Remove all metal objects (watch, earrings, etc.).
  • Crouch with feet together, head bowed, and place hands on ears to reduce acoustic shock.

Lightning isn’t the only weather hazard. A far more common threat is heat. Warm weather means more guests outside on the course. This also means more outdoor workers who are susceptible to serious heat-related illness, such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat syncope, heat cramps, heat rashes, and in some cases, death. While it may be impossible to lower the temperature, you can lower your risk by putting a heat program in place. Here are a few tips you can follow. 

  • Encourage staff to wear appropriate clothing.
  • Educate your staff about heat stress symptoms and how to respond.
  • Encourage hydration and rest throughout the work day.
  • Schedule labor-intensive work during dawn and dusk.
  • Ask staff to let you know of health issues that increase risk of heat stress.
  • Provide a cool resting place and plenty of water.

Swimming pools

As the mercury rises, so does the popularity of pools. It’s a feature that guests of all ages love, which is why now would be a good time to address the risks that come with it.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 10 people die in the U.S. every day from unintentional drowning, including two children 14 years old and younger. By following this list, you can significantly reduce the risk of a tragic accident occurring.  

  • Install and maintain perimeter fencing/barrier.
  • Determine if a Red Cross Certified lifeguard is required for your pool.
  • If no lifeguard is required, be sure required signage is clearly displayed.
  • Keep all safety equipment accessible, clearly marked, and in good repair.
  • Clearly mark pool depth.
  • Provide clean shower and bathroom facilities.
  • Keep pool clear of debris.
  • Properly maintain pool water with appropriate chemicals.
  • Provide safe storage for all chemicals.
  • Supply personal protective equipment and training for anyone handling pool chemicals.
  • Provide clear signage to convey rules, regulation, safety, emergency procedures.
  • Keep pool deck free of puddles or algae growth.
  • Ensure non-slip surfaces are in good repair at all time.
  • Maintain outdoor furniture in clean, operable condition.
  • If minor children are allowed, establish clear rules about supervision.
  • Ensure staff strictly enforce all rules and policies.

All of these suggestions are just a starting point. You should, of course, adapt them to match the needs of your club. By taking these simple steps, we can do our part this National Safety Month and make the world a little safer.

David A. Harnois, CCM, CPL, is a proud employee owner of VGM Insurance & Financial Solutions, specializing in commercial and group program business. David provides insurance solutions for clubs through his VGM Club endorsed program. David can be reached at 319-800-6676 or at david.harnois@vgm.com.

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