Ergonomic Nightmare of the Week: Lifeguard Towers

Sitting on the beach all day getting a tan may be your dream job…but is lifeguarding an ergonomic nightmare?

Decades ago, the image of bronzed lifeguards basking in the sun while sitting on simple red chairs was an icon of what Southern California beach life was all about.

Then emerged the dangers of skin cancer, along with the concern of shoddy ergonomics as chairs tilted because of eroding sand.

lifeguard tower

The Marine Safety Department in Laguna Beach gained approval a few weeks ago from the Design/Review board to add seven additional enclosed lifeguard towers to the sand, meant to shield guards from the sun and grounded in cement casings so they stand upright.

Lifeguard Chief Mark Klosterman said it was impractical to do story poles on the beach because they would be knocked down with shifting sands, high tides and strong winds. He said guidelines were adhered to, and the city felt as if people could get a scope of the project from the existing towers up since 2004.

lifeguard station

Numerous claims have been filed throughout the years from guards diagnosed from skin cancer. Other claims have come in after lifeguards break limbs from jumping from the chairs because the ladders do not meet regulations, said City Manager Ken Frank.

“We understand this is a big change for Laguna Beach,” Klosterman said. “Marine Safety is not doing this because we want to be modern lifeguards … we want to be good employers.”

Full article:  Petition decries Laguna lifeguard towers

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