Beat the Heat – Your Staff is Out There! Now Do This…

Keep DrinkingSome summers are cool, some are rainy and some are buggy. This summer is just plain hot. If you’re managing a maintenance or lifeguard team that works outdoors here’s what you need to be thinking about.


Schedule On-Calls – Higher temperatures mean higher attendance and more workload at your pool. When your staff is spread too thin on busy days customer service dips and risks increase. Schedule on-call staff members and utilize them wisely watching the seven-day forecast closely.

Get them Water – Better yet, treat them to a sports drink. There is some truth to the claims about improved water retention and reintroduction of electrolytes with sports drinks. Beyond that, sports drinks are more likely to be consumed. Studies show that flavored drinks encourage greater liquid consumption than water, and when it comes to hydrating, more is always better. Head to work tomorrow with a cooler full of cold drinks. Your staff will appreciate the gesture.

Increase Breaks – Consider that you may have to significantly increase break times. When a heatwave hits guards and maintenance staff need time out of the sun. Increase down-times in guard rotations, double up on quick breaks and extend lunch and dinner times by a few minutes.

Provide Shade – Most guard chairs have built in umbrella stands yet we’re often surprised to see their not utilized. This is a no-brainer. Make sure all of your chairs are equipped with shade right away. When outdoor staff head to break, make sure they have a cool place to get away from the sun and heat.

Sun Screen – When we talk to former lifeguards about sun protection it’s a familiar tune. They all feel like they should have worn more sunscreen. The problem is, teens and twenty-something’s don’t give much consideration to future skin issues. Break down one of the sunscreen barriers by providing sunscreen for your group. Encourage them to apply protection pre-shift and reapply regularly during their breaks.

Cut the Glare – When the sun shines bright, glare and eye fatigue become serious issues. If you have lifeguards who opt to not wear sun glasses, or are prone to forget their Ray-Bans, make sure you have a few polarized loaners on-hand. If they’re out of style they’ll be less likely to walk.

For more information on keeping your crew safe this summer, check out OSHA’s  Water, Rest, Shade campaign here.