Safe Golf Cart Operations
Golf carts have become quite a popular commodity these days, and not just for playing golf. In fact, golf carts are used not only in country clubs, but also on automotive dealership lots, large manufacturing facilities, and even between buildings on large properties like schools, hospitals, hotels, and entertainment venues.
So yes, golf carts have become a fast, cheap, maintenance free way to get around a large foot-print. However, driving a small, silent vehicle around a bustling facility can also present significant hazards. A quick search of the OSHA website revealed over 120 incidents resulting in citations, injuries, and fatalities related to golf cart use.
Here are a few hints to help reduce this exposure…
- Controlled Access: Allow only specific employees to access or use the vehicle. Controlling access can limit horseplay and unnecessary use.
- Safety Rules: Require users to read and sign a copy of the company’s safety rules for the vehicle.
- Identification: Assign a designated traffic route for use by the golf cart that doesn’t interfere with pedestrian or other vehicular traffic. Consider highlighting the traffic patterns with marking paint to inform others of the traffic routine.
- Enforcement: Administer strict disciplinary action for improper use or behavior by revoking privileges or terminating employment. Safety compliance is critical!
- Battery Charging: Charging should only be done in areas designed for that purpose. The area should be well ventilated and have spill response materials available to clean-up electrolyte spills. Charging devices should be equipped with automatic shut-off devices.
Also consider clearly posting golf cart operating rules on all carts and don’t forget about training. Golf Cart Operating Rules should be reviewed with designated drivers at hire and annual refresher training completed to reinforce the expected behaviors. See sample rules below:
Golf Cart Safety Rules
- Golf carts should be operated on clearly identified paths or perimeter roadways. Sidewalks should be used only where roadways &/or parking lots are not available, and then, only to the nearest adjacent street or parking lot.
- Keys to unused golf carts should be controlled to prevent unauthorized use.
- When operating the cart, always stay to the far right side of the lane to allow other vehicles to pass.
- Always obey traffic rules and regulations.
- Use extreme caution near building entrances. Park the vehicle away from doors, walkways, or covered areas.
- Golf carts should be operated at a safe speed. The speed should be no faster than a well-paced walk. Speed may also be subject to terrain, weather conditions, and total weight of the golf cart… So be cautious of your environment.
- All occupants MUST keep hands, arms, legs, and feet inside the golf cart while it is moving.
- No golf carts should be operated with more passengers than the seating provides. All passengers MUST be seated while cart is in motion.
- Never back up without making sure there are no people or obstructions blocking the travel route.
- Pedestrians always have the “right of way.”
- Approach sharp or blind corners with caution and reduce speed.
- NEVER operate golf cart on steep hills or severely sloped terrain. Stay on flat areas.
- Never leave keys in a golf cart unattended.
- When the golf cart is not in motion, the control lever should be placed in PARK (or neutral position) with the PARKING BRAKE SET. Then remove the key.