The Groundsman

January 2014

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the Groundsman January 2014 HEALTH AND SAFETY 29 Speedcut Contractors carrying out extensive drainage work at Plumpton Racecourse in West Sussex What should you do? One of your primary concerns will be to get your pitches back into play as soon as possible – this will inevitably mean removing the sediment from the surface. When you do this you are required under both Health & Safety and Environmental law to consider the potential harm to both humans and the wider environment, and you should act to prevent both. The most appropriate strategy for sediment removal will depend on your situation and the extent of your flood, but two common techniques are either to break up and mix the sediment with your soil (typically using a harrow) or complete removal and replacement using a machine such as the Koro. Consult your advisor on the best strategy to do this as it requires assessment on a case-by-case basis. Once you have your sediment managed, then you can look at reestablishing your turf. STRI provides very useful guidelines on how to do this (see www.stri.co.uk for more details). You should bear in mind the following, however: 1. Your sediment could be contaminated (see above) and could result in either contaminating your pitches if worked in, or creating a contaminated waste that will need to be disposed of correctly. 2. Silts and fine sediments can cap your surfaces leading to reduced infiltration rates, particularly on sandy soils or sand-constructions. Is the sediment contaminated? If you suspect contamination (eg you have been removing human excrement & sanitary waste; there are industrial sediment deposits or oil-like sheens; or there are persistent sewer-type smells), then you should have your soils tested appropriately – consult your waste services handler, local authority or recommended advisor on how to get this done correctly. Under current Environment Agency guidelines, you may store removed sediment on site until it has been assessed, but this should be in a location where it does not pose a further risk to the environment (i.e. away from watercourses, slopes, water supply and sewer networks, and not causing a nuisance – smell is a common concern for neighbours). Removal of sediment waste is regulated by the Environment Agency whose guidelines on how to manage post-flood sediment disposal can be found on the website www.environmentagency.gov.uk and 'Storing and disposing of sediment'. How you should minimise potential harm? To minimise risk to human health, the source (potentially contaminated sediment) should be removed or treated. Risks can be reduced further by removing the pathway from the source to the receptor (staff, players and public) during clean up, maintenance and play. To ground staff (and volunteers): during clean up and routine maintenance, personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn by all staff and volunteers who are involved. Minimum requirements include: • Wearing suitable gloves, dust masks, cover clothing (particularly cuts/abrasions etc.) and waterproof boots • No eating or drinking during this work • Thorough hand washing with soap and hot water should be made compulsory for all staff, before every break (including before toilet breaks) and at the end of the day. • Staff should shower to remove dust from hair and skin, and clearing the nose, mouth, eyes, ears etc is recommended. To players: players should be notified of the potential risks to their personal safety. Risks to players can be reduced by: • Covering all cuts before playing and strictly enforcing hand washing before tea time, toilet breaks and after the game. • Prohibiting players from using soil to dry their hands and prohibiting players licking the ball, or their hands. • Players should not ingest soil. To the public: inform the public about the potential risk • Where possible prevent access to the general public and use signs to alert people to keep themselves and their pets away from potentially contaminated land and stockpiles Where can you get more advice? Contaminated land: sampling and analysis must be carried out by a qualified professional, this can be arranged through your waste management contractor or your consultant. Playability: remedial maintenance options include chain harrowing, power brushing and in extreme cases removal by machines such as the Koro Field Top-maker. For further advice contact your pitch maintenance consultant Turf grass: contact your agronomist to discuss your options for pitch reinstatement or see the advice from the STRI. If you are in any doubt about the risks to you, your staff, or the environment, seek advice before acting. l Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions

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