Committing to preventative measures mitigates business risk and provides comfort and security for our most precious asset – people. Here are five of many elements within a robust safety and risk management program that should be incorporated in building a best-in-class club.
By Rodney Strange, Landscapes Golf Management
The Tylenol scare of the 1980s. Exxon’s oils spill and clean up in 1989-90. Facebook’s security breach in 2018. Such missteps caused these companies to experience tarnished reputations. The trust they worked so hard to gain slipped away in a jiffy and rehabilitation took years to execute.
Concerning situations also occur at golf courses, country clubs and resorts. Thankfully, committing to preventative measures mitigates business risk and provides comfort and security for our most precious asset – people. Here are five of many elements within a robust safety and risk management program – like ours at Landscapes Golf Management – that should be incorporated in building a best-in-class company:
• Management Pledge – From day one and with no excuses, firmly establish the health, safety and welfare of employees as a core value. Managers at all levels must lead by example, prioritizing risk management in all project-task planning and execution activities. Moreover, constantly measure adherence to safety and behavior policies and standards with strict teaching and learning moments for those who may deviate from the proper path.
• Worker Participation – It’s imperative ownership and employees are continually engaged in all aspects of the safety program. They must be provided the proper tools and training to conduct their work safely as well as the authority to report concerns and observed hazards to supervisors and management teams; in short, see something and say something! A highly skilled and knowledgeable employee base allows for communication and collaboration of safe work practices within each team’s respective area of responsibility.
• Employee Training – Buy, borrow or build state-of-the-art, video-based safety training modules which educate every employee to literally “pass the required test.” This multi-lingual platform allows employees to easily access and conduct regularly assigned safety courses on their laptops, PCs and cell phones. Site- and project-specific training is conducted continually by supervisors with mandatory attendance. An emergency management plan outlines procedures to safeguard people, property and facilities, as well as steps to assess an incident’s severity and respond to eliminate it. Training exercises (think fire drills) are part of the plan along with assistance from outside agencies like fire, police and EMT personnel.
• Injury and Illness Prevention Program – Develop a comprehensive, written safety and health program derived from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Policies and procedures are monitored for program implementation and performance, and continually updated with current regulatory requirements. Assign a “most accountable person” for being up to task on OSHA matters and communicating them internally in ostensibly real time.
• Safety Auditing – Regularly occurring on site, safety audits are conducted by outside, regulatory agencies (health department, for example) and by peers on the operations team. Some are scheduled, others are unannounced, and all potential safety issues must be documented and prioritized for timely, corrective actions. Audits are mechanisms to keep a safety-first foundation consistently in forefronts of employees’ minds. Employees with best management practices also rub off on members and guests to conduct themselves similarly.
Pay serious attention, folks: As golf course owners and operators, we are playing with fire of sorts. Staff, machinery and equipment, chemicals and fertilizers, and other tangible products and human actions, be they in or beyond our control, could have deleterious effects if prevention, preparedness, response and recovery are not up to par.
Rodney Strange is Corporate Director of Safety, ASP, SSH, for Landscapes Golf Management, operator of more than 50 golf courses, country clubs and resorts across America.