Injury prevention

Drowning of lake maintenance worker spurs new safety resources


Photo: California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program

Sacramento, CA – New materials from the California Department of Public Health describe best practices for preventing drownings among maintenance workers.

A video details how a 45-year-old tree trimmer drowned after falling from a boat while he was removing weeds and algae from a golf course lake. He was working alone and not wearing a flotation device when the boat became unstable, causing him to fall overboard. The victim was unable to swim and had not been trained in water safety or hazard recognition. The video, which also is available in Spanish, explains how to prevent a similar incident.

In addition, the California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program has released discussion questions, a fact sheet and an investigation report to supplement the video.

Tips for preventing drownings include:

  • Train workers in water safety and hazard recognition. Give them a personal floatation device when working in or near water.
  • Have two workers on a boat to make it more stable. For emergency rescue, life rings should be provided.
  • Use appropriate equipment, such as paddles or oars, to control the boat.
  • Consider an integrated pest management program to avoid having workers remove weeds while working in boats.