From the helpdesk: Your queries answered

An online helpdesk offers an advisory service answering your queries. This time: Red diesel and… hard hats for greenkeepers? I’ve heard that the duty discount on Red Diesel is going to be abolished next year. Can you investigate? The Chancellor announced the end of tax relief on red diesel in all sectors except agriculture, fish farming and non-commercial heating, in the March 2020 budget.  Buyers of red diesel currently pay 11p per litre of tax on fuel, compared with 58p for regular buyers who pay the standard rate.  As it stands HMRC, while agreeing that horticulture is agriculture when considering Road Tax, state that ‘ we do not regard as horticulture the landscaping and maintenance of grassy recreational areas, such as playing fields and golf courses, or the grassed areas of parks that are made available for walks, picnics and general recreation.’ This loss of the duty discount for golf clubs is scheduled for April 2022. Should greenkeepers be wearing hard hats while they operate mowers? If so, is it a legal requirement? It is for the club to address the risks that could result in greenkeepers being injured before introducing hard hats. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and current Health and Safety Regulations both place obligations on employers to protect employees at work. However, while there is the Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989, there is no equivalent regulation relating to golf clubs. Regulations suggest recording formal risk assessments with the greenkeeper, especially as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is advised to be the last resort. It is worth noting if a greenkeeper was to have a serious accident, there is no doubt that an Environmental Health Officer could prosecute if the risk assessment was not suitable. This article can be found in document 1200 in the Information Library.
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