Information for Recreational Water Employees and Managers: Preventing Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs)- Minnesota Dept. of Health

Diarrheal Illness in Recreational Water Employees: Information for Managers

Minnesota Department of Health
Revised September, 2015

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Diarrheal Illness in Recreational Water Employees: Information for Managers (PDF)

Recreational water illnesses

Recreational water illnesses are spread by swallowing or having contact with contaminated water from swimming pools, hot tubs, splash pads, and lakes. These illnesses can cause a variety of symptoms, but the most common is diarrhea.

Some illnesses that cause diarrhea or vomiting can be transmitted through the water to patrons and co-workers if employees work while ill.

Managing employee illness

Managers can help stop the transmission of waterborne illnesses and prevent outbreaks from occurring by doing the following:

  • Train employees to recognize the symptoms of waterborne illness.
  • Inform employees of your employee illness policy. If you do not have a policy, institute one.
  • Record all employee reports of illness on an employee illness log. Keep the log in a place that can easily be found by all managers and supervisors.
  • Exclude ill employees from work while they have diarrhea or vomiting. Employees diagnosed with Cryptosporidium should not enter the water until 2 weeks after their symptoms have stopped. Alternate job duties may be given during this time.
  • Have a plan in place to find substitutions for employees who are ill and cannot work.

Employee responsibilities

Employees play an important role in keeping the water safe and healthy for everyone. Employees should:

  • Know the symptoms of waterborne illness.
  • Report any illness to management.
  • Not work while ill with diarrhea or vomiting.

Patron complaints

Patron complaints of illness may be reported to the MDH Foodborne and Waterborne Illness Hotline at 1-877-366-3455. MDH will contact the appropriate health department for follow-up.

Preventing recreational water illnesses

Help keep the water safe and healthy for everyone by following these healthy swimming steps:
  • Do not swim while you have diarrhea.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom.
  • Shower (with soap) before you get in the water.
  • Do not swallow the water.
  • Encourage patrons and employees to also follow these healthy swimming steps!




Updated Wednesday, 15-Nov-2017 14:16:03 CST