Greenkeeper sues club after slicing foot with chainsaw

Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim February 23, 2015 11:02

A greenkeeper is suing his golf club for a five-figure sum of money after slicing his foot with a chainsaw.

According to Dundee’s Evening Telegraph, James Gowans, 47, has lodged court action against Downfield Golf Club after claiming that a chainsaw he was using sliced into his foot just over three years ago.

Mr Gowans — who has worked for the club for more than 15 years — claims to have suffered serious injuries while cutting trees at the course in December 2011.

It is understood that Mr Gowans was working in a wooded area between the practice ground and the second green at the time of the incident.

He was working with a chainsaw to clear trees which had been damaged in a storm.

‘The chainsaw he was working with hit a hard patch of wood and kicked back, striking him on the left foot,’ states the newspaper.

‘The incident saw the machinery cut deeply into his foot, and he now suffers ongoing pain and likely nerve and ligament damage — which, it’s claimed, has restricted his ability to work or play golf.’

Mr Gowans claims he sustained the injury to his left foot, with the cut on his big toe going close to the bone.

He was off work for more than three months and he is now taking action against the club to claim for damages related to a loss of earnings during that time.

The action was raised in the Court of Session by lawyers before the three-year deadline for raising such cases had elapsed.

The case is being handled by solicitors at Digby Brown’s office in Dundee.

The exact amount that Mr Gowans is claiming for is not yet established, but it is thought to be a five-figure sum.

A spokesman for Digby Brown said: “This is another case which highlights the importance of robust workplace safety measures.

“Anyone asked to work with machinery should have the tools and training to do so safely.”


Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim February 23, 2015 11:02
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  1. John Ross March 3, 09:10

    So few golf clubs assess risk properly, implement the risk assessment, have a Safe System of Work. The fact that they don’t realise it is a way to reduced insurance costs summarises the lack of professionalism in far too many clubs management hierarchies. The failure of golf clubs to have in place appropriate mitigation is a cost burden!

    Reply to this comment
    • Bob Braban March 3, 09:54

      No argument there! Management of golf clubs is overall poor. Greens staff often tend to go their own way with very little direction or control. It’s a fact that very few employees will voluntarily use the safety equipment provided, if it is provided at all. They will wear a large anorak to keep out the cold, but safety goggles will remain in the crew room and ear defenders will often be replaced by earphones plugged into an iPod. We have probably all seen tractors racing around the course with staff perched in precarious places and the thought of some I have known being let loose with a chainsaw sends shudders through the spine. Perhaps this case will change attitudes to H&S on the course in particular.

      Bob Braban

      Reply to this comment
      • Tim Kent March 5, 18:04

        TOTALLY AGREE. As a fully trained, IOSH certificated , retail manager and graduate of GCMA cert in Golf club management. It doesn’t surprise me in the least; golf is rife with ‘experts’ at clubs whos shortsighted money saving campaigns to employ low skilled easily manipulated managers at low cost ; totally ignoring the gcma guidelines on safe systems of work endanger golfers/visitors and staff alike.. I gave up trying to move into the industry as it was clear that clubs don’t care enough to consider risk over costs and employ people who know what the risks are. ive seen greenstaff on there phones with no high vis and no hard hats all while using dangerous machinary. in any industry this would not be seen. It won’t be long before a club president or director gets sent to jail for corporate manslaughter. ..

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