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Example risk assessment

Examples of some risks for construction barge operations 

  • The below is an example risk assessment which outlines some risks associated with construction barge operations. The risk assessment for your construction barge needs to consider the particulars of the barge, the operations the barge is undertaking, and the risks associated with those operations which may differ to the examples below. 
  • Procedures should be developed for key onboard operations to address risks identified and pre work briefing ‘toolbox talks’ held so everyone understands the risks involved and how to maintain safety. 
  • Refer to Risk Management in the National System – A Practical Guide for further information on how to undertake a risk assessment. 


Activity Risk Likelihood Consequence Initial Risk rating Risk Controls Likelihood Consequence Residual risk rating 
Barge access and general operations  Person overboard likely high extreme 
  • Appropriate height guardrails 
  • Use of AMSA compliant gangway 
  • Crew to wear a lifejacket  
  • Stand by rescue vessel 
  • Person overboard alert system  
  • Wear appropriate footwear and clothing 
  • Monitor weather 
  • Communication means to raise the alarm 
  • Regularly practice person overboard procedure 
  • Lifebuoys in easily accessible location  
  • Ladder installed on barge  
  • Means to recover person overboard 
unlikely medium moderate 
Carriage of deck cargo and machinery  

Structural failure of vessel; overloading and loss of stability 

 flooding; capsize 

likely catastrophic extreme 
  • Don’t exceed maximum load freeboard marks 
  • Don’t exceed maximum deck loading limits. 
  • Use dunnage for concentrated deck loads 
  • Use fit for purpose attachment points to secure deck cargo and large machinery.  
  • Load to ensure even heel and trim. Always load according to stability assessment. 
  • Regularly inspect and maintain deck plating and supporting structures.  
  • Ensure all hatches/openings are closed 
  • Regularly check bilges and remove any water 
rare high moderate 
Use of crane/lifting appliances 

Loss of stability; 

crane failure 

likely catastrophic  extreme 
  • Up to date stability assessment by accredited marine surveyor 
  • Use a marine specific crane 
  • Ensure working load limits are not exceeded 
  • Regular maintenance according to manufactures instructions 
  • Inspection according to WHS regulations 
  • Appropriate crane operator qualifications 
  • Standard operating procedure for safe use of crane  
  • Use of a spotter 
  • Regularly check bilges and remove water 
  • Ensure vessel is loaded/unloaded according to stability assessment  
  • Emergency stop button for crane  
rare high moderate 
Use of crane/lifting appliances  Falling objects possible high extreme 
  • Perform the task from land where practicable 
  • Never lift or move suspended loads over people 
  • Ensure crane is secured to the barge 
  • Ensure an appropriate exclusion zone around the load to be lifted 
  • Select appropriate slinging methods and lifting gear   
  • Standard operating procedure for safe use of crane including communication between crew and plant operator 
  • Use of qualified plant operators and riggers/doggers  
  • Regular maintenance according to manufactures instructions, including all lifting slings and equipment 
  • Consider the weather conditions and swell or wake from passing vessels  
  • Wear appropriate PPE such as head, eye, foot and hand protection 
rare high moderate 
Carriage of dangerous goods  Explosion, environmental pollution possible catastrophic extreme 
  • Adhere to state regulations for storage and separation of dangerous goods  
  • Store engine fuel tanks and compressed gas tanks properly, away from sources of ignition 
  • Only keep onboard quantities of flammable and combustible materials necessary for operations and maintenance. 
  • Post appropriate danger signs 
  • Appropriate and serviced fire fighting equipment 
  • Carry spill kits 


rare high moderate 
Refuelling equipment Fuel spill, explosion  possible high extreme 
  • Re-fuel on land if possible 
  • Re-fuelling procedure 
  • Carry fuel spill kit and emergency plan for fuel spill.  
  • No hot work or smoking on whilst re-fuelling occurs  
rare medium moderate 
Confined space entry 

Loss of consciousness 



possible high extreme 
  • Follow Safe Work Australia confined spaces code of practice including forced air ventilation, testing of atmosphere, use of gas monitor, use of a sentry. 
  • Undertake confined space entry training  
  • Implement a confined space entry permit system  
  • Identify and label all confined spaces 
  • Have an emergency rescue recovery plan 


rare medium moderate 

Loss of stability of towed barge, capsize 

Environment spill 

possible high extreme 
  • Remove any deck loads that aren’t required. 
  • Remove all fuel and other potential contaminants prior to tow 
  • Ensure all deck loads are properly secured and located appropriately for stability assessment. 
  • Consider effect of free surface effect for any liquids carried on board  
  • Close all hatches and empty bilges before tow 
  • Monitor weather  
  • Carry a spill kit 
unlikely medium moderate 



possible medium high 
  • Assess the weather  
  • Passage plan taking identifying waterways hazards, local traffic and wind and tide conditions 
  • Use appropriate COLREG day shapes and navigation lights 
  • Always maintain proper lookout 
  • Good local knowledge 
  • Use AIS transponder 
rare minor low 
Towing Loss of control of towed barge/breakage of tow line Likely  medium high 
  • Use appropriate towage arrangements 
  • Know bollard pull requirements 
  • Use appropriately rated tow lines and inspect regularly 
  • Check weather forecast and complete a passage plan 
  • Ensure the towing vessel is appropriate for the tow and has approvals to conduct towing operations. 
  • Ensure clear line of line and communication between master and crew 
  • Ensure appropriately qualified crew on the towing vessel  
  • Have an emergency towing arrangement plan 
rare minor low 
Use of plant and machinery  Fire  possible medium high 
  • Daily visual check of all fuel/hydraulic pipes 
  • Proper storage of fuel 
  • Separate storage of flammable materials and oily rags 
  • No smoking policy on board 
  • Remote shut offs for fuel and ventilation systems  
  • Serviced fire equipment including deck hoses, fire pumps 
  • Portable fire extinguishers, fire blankets and fire buckets 
  • Practice emergency fire plan regularly 


rare minor low 

Barge access and general operations 


Trips, falls likely medium high 
  • Slip resistant deck surface 
  • Tidy workplace with clear access and pathways  
  • Suitable footwear 
  • Safe system for collecting, storing and disposing of excess and waste materials   
  • First aid qualifications and first aid kit 
unlikely minor low 
Breaking loose while moored Collision, pollution possible medium high 
  • Use high strength lines and appropriate rated mooring equipment 
  • Regularly check mooring arrangements 
  • Monitor weather forecast and risk of flooding or tidal surges 
  • Utilise anchor drag alarm technology  
  • Maintain a watch during high-risk events  
rare medium moderate