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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 98697.015 - Employee Struck Sandbar While Body Surfing And Is Paralized

Accident: 98697.015 -- Report ID: 0950632 -- Event Date: 08/17/2017
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
1260678.01509/01/2017City Of Carlsbad
At 5:00 p.m. on August 17, 2017, a life guard employee was assigned to Tower 2. One of three lifeguard stations on a 0.7 mile stretch of beach from Oak Ave on the south end to the inlet to Buena Vista Lagoon to the north, and west of Ocean Street. The employees have a tall mound of sand that they use as a temporary "tower" at Towers 2 and 3, from which to scan the beach and ocean to provide rescue services to the public. The employees are provided a large canopy structure for shade, and beach chairs. At Tower 1, located in front of the Army Navy Academy, there is an actual wooden tower enclosed structure used by the city lifeguards with a storage locker below. Lifeguards are assigned to their "tower" for the day, and are relieved periodically throughout the day by a roving team on either ATV's or in the lifeguard truck. At the time of the accident, the employee had been relieved by lifeguard coworker and was engaged in physical training. Lifeguards are expected to engage in physical training during their paid breaks, which can include activities at the employee's discretion such as running on the beach, swimming in the ocean, paddling a paddle board, and board surfing or body surfing. The employee was seriously injured when he struck his neck and shoulder against the sandbar where he was body surfing, and was rendered unconscious and was seen by a nearby boogie-boarder, who saw him floating face down. The witness waved down help when he realized the employee was unconscious, and two coworkers responded to the scene to perform rescue procedures and to stabilize the employee for transport. The employee regained consciousness but communicated that he was paralyzed. He suffered a spinal cord injury and vertebrae fractures to C4, C5 and C6. He had bruising on the spinal cord at C2. He was hospitalized at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla, for about 2 weeks, where he had surgeries to install plates, pins, and spacers and stabilizers. He was transferred to a spinal cord rehabilitation hospital in Colorado for further treatment.
Keywords: paralysis, neck, back, spine, struck against, vertebra
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature
1 1260678.015 26 M Hospitalized injury Concussion

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