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FACEValue: Maintenance worker drowns while removing weeds

Case report: #15CA001
Issued by: California Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program
Date of incident: Sept. 16, 2014

A 45-year-old lake maintenance worker drowned after falling from a boat while clearing vegetation from a golf course lake. The victim was “corralling” aquatic weeds by dragging a rope out into the lake, and circling the weeds while standing up in a 10-foot aluminum, non-motorized fishing boat. The boat capsized, throwing the victim into the water, where he drowned. The victim was working alone, was not wearing a personal floatation device and had not been properly trained on hazard recognition or water safety.

To prevent future occurrences:

  • Provide personal flotation devices for employees working in or near water.
  • Develop and implement a written safety plan that includes training on the hazards of working in or near water.
  • Have two people on the boat when doing work in water.
  • Have life rings readily available for workers who work in or near water.
  • Provide appropriate equipment for using small non-motorized watercraft.
  • Consider implementing a pest management program to control weed growth in lakes.

Read the full report.

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