Labor Department Highlights Surfboat and Lightning Safety in Advance of Summer Season

As the unofficial start of summer approaches this Memorial Day weekend, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) is bringing attention to two Safety Alerts issued regarding surfboats and lightning exposure.

The NJDOL’s Office of Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH) posted the alerts to ensure public employers and employees, particularly beach patrols, are aware of the risks involved when operating a surfboat or in a situation of increased risk of lightning strike.

Each alert details the possible hazards involved, as well as steps to mitigate worker injury or death.

“The Jersey Shore is a premier family-fun destination for locals and visitors alike, and our beach patrols are crucial to ensuring everyone stays safe while having a memorable visit,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo.

“NJDOL is proud to be part of our state’s signature tradition by protecting these workers so they can safely perform their essential duty.”

In 2022, PEOSH, which is responsible for inspecting, investigating, and educating workers and employers on workplace safety matters to ensure the safety and health of employees, performed a total of 58 inspections of beach patrols employing public employees in Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic, and Cape May counties.

Compliance officers found violations relating to boat hazard assessments, boat hazard assessment certifications, lightning policies, and record keeping.

The expansive effort was prompted by the August 2021 tragic deaths of two young lifeguards, 16-year-old Norman Inferrera III, whose surfboat capsized at Cape May’s Reading Avenue Beach, and 19-year-old Keith Pinto, who was struck by lightning while stationed on a lookout tower at White Sands Beach in Berkeley Township.


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