Hazards to Protect Workers Against During Barge Loading & Unloading Events

Posted on: 12 April 2017


Loading and unloading personnel face a variety of risks while performing their duties at barge loading and unloading events. Not only are there moving parts involved in the process, but these moving parts are very large and can present a life-threatening hazard in a variety of ways if care is not taken.

Fortunately, innovators have developed several solutions to various aspects of loading and unloading hazards. Here are some of the attendant hazards of barge loading and unloading and how you can protect your workers against them.

Falling into the water

Your waters probably aren't teeming with sharks, but that doesn't mean a fall isn't likely to injure an employee. Your loading personnel can easily fall into the water where the barge meets the dock, which can then put them at serious risk for being crushed between these two enormous objects. Or even if the fall occurs on the far side of the barge, the employee may fall and strike his or her head against the side of the barge on the way down, resulting in disorientation or unconsciousness and raising the chances of drowning.

You can use a simple gangway to reduce chances of falling into the water on the dock side, and you can use a tethering system to prevent falls in addition to making sure the barge has a secure footing and requiring all employees to wear life vests.

Other slips and falls

In addition to the chances of falling into the water, barge unloading has two other specific types of fall hazards. One is the danger of falling inside the barge itself, which some of the measures mentioned above (fall tethering and ensuring a secure footing) can help prevent. Another is the hazard of simply slipping on any wet surface and falling to the ground. This hazard is heightened because of the maritime environment of the work being done; the water can splash up onto the dock, creating a hazard.

Unfortunately, a worker who's in a hurry and falls on a wet surface, even if he or she doesn't fall into the water, can still sustain an injury such as a concussion, a sprained ankle or wrist, or perhaps even a broken bone depending on the situation.

You can do your part to reduce these falls by ensuring the decking on your barge is non-slip and offers a good footing, and by taking common-sense approaches such as ensuring that employees always wear suitable footwear and making sure that any debris and spills on the deck are always cleaned up at once.

These hazards may not always be totally preventable, but there's a lot you can do to prevent them. Use these tips to make sure your employees stay safe and happy while loading and unloading. Learn more by contacting services like Sundbeck Inc.