A statement from Geoff Webb, CEO at Grounds Management Association
Over the course of the month, Grounds Management Association (GMA) has continued to network with sports bodies and government to provide the latest guidance for the sector. Our primary focus always remains the safety, as well as the physical and mental wellbeing of anyone and everyone working in the industry.
Each working situation and environment during this challenging time is a case-by-case scenario. We have been able to get clarity from government that, for those where working from home is not possible – the case for much of those in our industry, then it is possible to resume work. However, this can only happen if you feel well and that it deemed safe (by your employer) for you to do so. It’s important to note that natural and artificial pitches should only be considered if it is essential, safe and does not conflict with current Government guidance. No one should be put at risk by carrying out any grounds maintenance work.
Government advice is changing rapidly, and we urge staff and employers to monitor the latest guidance daily. If you have any questions, contact your employer or sports body who can provide the most relevant information for your work and sector. We have produced a set of ‘safe working’ top tips for employers, relevant specifically to our sector.
We applaud the incredible key workers across the nation, as well as the those working hard to maintain the sports surfaces and green spaces that will return to being used and loved once safe to do so. We must continue to work together responsibly to play our part in slowing down the spread of Covid-19.
Our industry is crucial for sports and recreational activities, which provide positive physical and mental health benefits for many across the country. As a result, we hope that the role of grounds staff will be recognised and respected even more so going forwards.
Grounds Management Association (GMA) has also issued top tips to encourage best practice, for employers and managers in the grounds care industry.
- Monitor official guidance daily
With the situation evolving daily, it’s worth keeping up-to-date with latest Government guidance online and the daily press statements to inform your decisions as an employer. If you’re self-employed, use the guidance to assess how you will personally work on the site.
- Communicate regularly
With social-distancing taking place, it’s important to keep workers updated on the actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace. Ensure you have everyone’s up-to-date contact details, as well as any emergency contact details.
- Provide clear, specific working guidelines
Those in vulnerable groups will require additional details on working guidelines for their personal situation, and if they are deemed extremely vulnerable they should be shielded and supported to stay at home. Create a safe-working plan that outlines the do’s and don’ts based on your specific working environment. For example, this may include asking only one employee to use a room or facility at a time and providing signs in the relevant areas.
- Maintain excellent hygiene standards
It’s important to have strict standards and make sure there are suitable facilities for everyone to wash hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water. Provide alcohol-based sanitiser for hands and to wipe down machinery. Provide tissues for staff to use, which must be disposed of afterwards.
- Encourage responsible working at all times
Look out for others and those working around you. Make sure managers and colleagues know the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and are clear on your process. For example, reporting the sickness, the support available, and what do to if someone at the workplace becomes unwell. Keep a safe distance apart at all times.