Deckhands on barges deserve to have a safe work environment. It’s up to the employers to ensure that everyone on the vessel has what they need to remain safe. This includes proper gear, as well as the training to stay out of harm’s way.
Some essential safety tips, such as wearing the proper shoes for the wet deck surface, can significantly enhance safety. Nobody should run on the deck or walk along an unguarded edge.
How else can workers on barges remain safe?
Workers on barges need to ensure that they’re always considering the vessel’s movement. Climbing on cargo or equipment should always be avoided because of the risk of falling. They must also be careful when they’re working at night. Using proper illumination when it’s dark can help them to avoid hazards.
Using ladders on a barge is another task that requires special attention. Always keep three points of contact when you’re climbing a ladder. You only want one hand or one foot off the ladder at a time. Personal fall arrest devices are also important for workers working at heights where falling to the deck or off the barge is possible.
The risk of falling off a barge must be taken seriously. All workers should have a personal flotation device if they’re working in an area where that’s possible. This includes any area without a suitable railing. Even if a worker is in an enclosed space, they should have one available in case there’s a crisis.
Make sure you get medical care for injuries you suffer aboard a barge. The Jones Act protects injured seamen, but you must work with someone familiar with these matters because this is an intricate area of law.