You love your job, working as a lifeguard on a local beach. You have saved lives, and it makes you feel good knowing that you can keep people safe during their vacations or when they’re trying to relax.
You didn’t think that you’d end up getting hurt yourself, though you knew it was a possibility. You were on your way into the water to help someone when you twisted your ankle. At the time, your adrenaline was pumping, so you were able to help them and get back to shore. Then, you noticed the bruising was already starting. Within a day, you couldn’t walk.
Working as a lifeguard can be hazardous
Lifeguards have many potential injury risks, such as:
- Slipping and falling
- Falls from a lifeguard chair
- Shark bites
- Cuts and lacerations from shells, objects in the sand
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Injuries from drowning or scared people in the water
- Injuries from biohazards, like blood or urine
- Injuries from chemicals, like chlorine
Did you know that most aquatic staff are under the age of 22? In around 70% of cases, it’s women who suffer injuries. Injuries suffered while working as a lifeguard could be temporary or lead to permanent pain and disability.
What can you do to lessen the risk of an injury on the job?
There are many things lifeguards can do to protect themselves, such as:
- Working in a buddy system
- Conducting emergency drills regularly for practice
- Making sure they have a heat stress exposure control plan
- Wearing the right gear
- Having access to water
- Using sunscreen, umbrellas and protection against the elements
- Checking over Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to make sure it is working properly
Can you seek workers’ compensation if you’re hurt while working as a lifeguard?
If you are hurt while working as a lifeguard, you should be able to seek workers’ compensation for your injuries. If you are employed, then your employer should be responsible for having workers’ compensation insurance coverage. If they do not have it, you may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in place of a workers’ compensation claim.
You’re doing a tough job as a lifeguard, and it’s important that your health and safety is protected, too. If you are hurt on the job, talk to your employer about filing a claim through workers’ compensation, so you can get the care you need to recover and get back to work.