A barge is a flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river and canal transport of heavy goods. Some barges are not self-propelled and need to be towed or pushed by towboats.
A deck barge is a manned or unmanned barge that has a continuous, flat main deck. It is used to carry deck cargo and is also used in the marine construction industry for such work as pier or bulkhead construction, dredging, bridge construction and maintenance, and marine oil service. These types of vessels are not self-propelled.
Employees on barges and other vessels can face serious hazards. Between 1997 and 2006, 305 employees were killed on barge/tow combinations, and 379 explosions or fires occurred on barges or towboats, killing 14 employees. Some examples of these incidents include the following:
Approximately 4,000 deck barges operate in the United States, using different types of winches and other equipment in a variety of operations. Many injuries and deaths could be prevented with proper controls, procedures, training, and awareness of hazards and possible solutions.
This course presents guidance on preventing injuries and illnesses from workplace hazards on deck barges. In the following modules, the major physical hazards of concern are highlighted and steps to address them are outlined, along with resources for additional information.
To begin your training, click on the module links below. If you are just starting this course, you should start with module 1.
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1. Deck Barge Safety, OSHA Pub 3358-01N (2009). Retrieved from: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/3358deck-barge-safety.pdf
2. American Waterways Operators Inter-region Safety Committee, Lesson Plan for Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention. (2002). Retrieved from: www.americanwaterways.com/commitment_safety/slpsplan.doc
3. Safety on Barges, Do’s and Don’ts of Barging, The Barge Association. Retrieved from: http://www.barges.org/knowledgebase/safety-on-barges
4. Deck Engineer on Barge Dies When Struck by Crane Counterweight, Washington State Dept. of Labor. Retrieved from: http://www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Research/FACE/
5. Barge Mounted Floated Crane, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC). Retrieved from: http://www.navfac.navy.mil/products_and_services/sf/products_and_services/construction/safety_shack.html
6. Spud Barge Safety, OSHA Fact Sheet DSC (2009). Retrieved from: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=17390
7. OSHA Instruction CPL 02-01-047, OSHA (2010). Retrieved from: https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02-01-047.pdf