Golf Cart Safety

posted Oct 26, 2012, 1:48 PM by G W Black
 

Disclaimer: Friends of Nolin Lake is not endorsing the use of golf carts on neighborhood county roads.  This is simply an article on safety. Kentucky Statute 189.286 states that local government can pass an ordinance to approve golf carts on their county roads.  Check with your county for their laws.

Golf Carts Aren't Just for Golfers

- Keith Piercy, Compliance Safety and Health Officer, Tampa OSHA Area Office

I don't play golf. Nor, I suspect, do a lot of you. It doesn't matter. This story isn't just about golf.  That's because golf carts are no longer just on golf courses. You see them all over‐‐on campuses, large plant facilities and in warehouses. They're also typically used as work vehicles to transport workers and equipment from one building or job site to another.  So, safe use of golf carts is an important topic. This is especially true when you consider that some workers have a tendency to view them as toys and ride around on them without worrying about the danger, but golf carts are dangerous.

They can tip over, tumble down damp hills and collide with other vehicles. Golf carts have become a popular mode of transportation, on and off the links because of their small size, low maintenance, and ease of use. Case reports suggest severe, debilitating injuries as consequences of golf cart incidents. An estimated 48,255 golf cart‐related injuries occurred in the U.S. between 2002 and 2005; the injury rate was 4.14 out of a 100,000 population. The highest injury rates were observed in 10 to 19 year‐olds and those aged 80 and older. Males had a higher injury rate than females. 1 From an occupational standpoint, nationwide between 05/01/2007 and 05/01/2011, OSHA investigated 21 fatalities involving golf cart type equipment; 7 of which occurred in Region IV. Fifty‐two percent of the fatalities occurred at golf and club type facilities. 2 These accidents were caused by employees who did not take precautions, or generally ignored the rules. Primary causes of the accidents included cart overturns, falling/jumping from moving golf carts, collisions with another vehicle or stationary object, and struck/run over by carts.

However simple the rules may be, it is important to adhere to them and help everyone to stay safe. Here are a few simple rules:

Before You Drive

  • Make sure the horn, brakes and lights work.
  • Check the back-up alarm, tire pressure and battery fluid.
  • Before backing up, ensure the area behind you is clear of all obstacles, including vehicles and pedestrians.

Passenger Safety

  • Observe passenger limits. Only two people should ride in a two-person cart and four in a four-person cart.
  • Wear the seatbelt and make sure passengers wear theirs.
  • Don't stand up in a moving golf cart and don't let your passengers either.

Stopping and Parking

  • Don't park in front of emergency exits, fire hydrants, fire lanes, sidewalks, ramps, or doors.
  • When parking, set the brake, place the cart in neutral and remove the key.
  • Secure the parked golf cart with a cable or other locking mechanism.

Transporting Goods

  • If the golf cart is used to transport equipment, there are some special safety rules to consider:
  • Transport materials during periods of low traffic and pedestrian activity.
  • Don't overload the cart. Take only the bare minimum.
  • Make sure the materials are securely fastened.
  • Loads should not extend more than a foot from either side or front of the golf cart.
  • Use brightly colored material to flag any loads that extend more than three feet (one meter) from the rear of the cart.

When You Drive

  • Drive only in designated areas and stay off city streets.
  • Drive beside pedestrian walkways (not on them).
  • Observe all standard rules of the road, such as coming to a complete stop at stop signs, signaling before a turn and keeping to the right, except to pass.
  • Yield to other vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Don't drive faster than a quick-paced walk.
  • Slowdown in wet conditions and on steep slopes when approaching corners, intersections/blind spots, and in areas of heavy pedestrian traffic.
  • Slow down for speed bumps and uneven pavement. Keep off curbs.
  • To avoid tipping, drive the cart straight up and straight down slopes - not on the diagonal.
  • Don't drive while distracted. If something other than driving the cart has your attention, stop the vehicle. This includes eating, talking on a cell phone or jotting down notes.
Sources:

1. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, Incidence of golf cart‐related injury in the United States.

2. OSHA Fatality and Catastrophe Investigation Summaries

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