WorksafeBC Removes Golf Carts From ROPS Requirement

By Jerry Rousseau

Good news for golf courses!  On October 22nd, WorksafeBC released another round of proposed amendments to Part 16, Mobile Equipment Regulation, including a change that removes golf carts from roll-over protection system (ROPS) requirements.

The original release last fall proposed mandatory ROPS and seatbelts for most mobile equipment used by workers including golf carts (AKA light frame/low speed vehicles), a move that was seen as impractical, unnecessary and extremely costly for the golf industry.

The rules did allow for a qualified person (QP) to determine roll-over risk and if low, ROPS would not be necessary.  Digging deeper though, specific criteria for the QP to follow was defined by Worksafe such as no grades exceeding 10%, no operating areas with open edges, no ditches or other similar hazards which might cause a rollover and so on.  It began to look like most golf courses in the province were going to need ROPS on their golf cart fleets considering that every golf cart at every golf course at some point is operated by a golf course worker, with the exception of privately owned carts.

Then, after months of industry input, a flurry of media coverage broke in early September prompting a statement from the agency, “Based on stakeholder feedback, WorkSafeBC intends to limit the proposed changes to golf-course workers only, and workers in other industries where golf carts may be used.  The proposed changes would not affect the public or golfers.

The statement wasn’t really news though, since Worksafe does not have jurisdiction over the golfing public but it appeared to cause confusion in the industry.  The NGCOA’s release shortly thereafter titled ‘A Win For The Industry’, stated, “…golfers will indeed be exempt from requiring seatbelts when golfing. However workers will require seatbelts/ROPS assuming the golf course deems the property a risk of roll over or have assigned certain areas of risk where a golf course worker will require a seatbelt/ROPS if they access risk areas.”

While certainly correct, interpretation seemed to overlook the bit about golf course workers operating the golfer cart fleet, whether to shuttle, stage, store, fuel, charge, clean, or perform repairs and maintenance.

With yesterday’s Worksafe announcement, it is indeed a win for the industry with golf carts excluded from the ROPS/seatbelt requirement.  With that, golf course operators will need to consider the definition of a golf cart vs. beverage cart vs. turf truckster and look at other changes to mobile equipment brought forward including new rules for mirrors, lights, protection from falling, flying and intruding objects, and more stringent training and record-keeping requirements. 

CLICK HERE for the latest proposed Mobile Equipment regulation amendments