Focused inspection campaign—construction barges

Advice to vessel owners and masters for the focused inspection campaign on construction barge safety.

AMSA will conduct a focused inspection campaign (FIC) on construction barge safety requirements for domestic commercial vessels (DCVs) over the period 1 May 2022 to 30 June 2022. 

The FIC is being undertaken in conjunction with a safety education campaign, the details of which can be found here on AMSA’s website

AMSA has established the campaign in response to serious incidents occurring on construction barges, some of which have resulted in fatalities. 

Construction barges are DCVs that can be adapted to undertake a variety of operations which may include carrying and securing heavy deck loads, lifting heavy weights, powered mobile plant, or working at height. 

These operations present a variety of hazards and risks to safety which must be identified with controls put in place to eliminate or minimise these risks so far as reasonably practicable through a risk assessment which is part of your safety management system (SMS). 

The FIC will focus on barges used across the construction industry, including barges used as work platforms and those that transport equipment, supplies or waste, with a particular emphasis on the risk assessment for the work undertaken. 

Barge owners and operators should be familiar with risk assessment requirements as these are a key requirement of both the DCV safety management system under AMSA and work health and safety (WHS) regulations, particularly as construction barge work is considered ‘high risk construction work’1 and requires a safe work method statement (SWMS). 

Your SWMS may also meet the AMSA SMS requirements for the risk assessment if it identifies, assesses, and mitigates the risks associated with the key daily tasks of the construction barge. 

AMSA will work jointly with WHS state authorities in delivering this campaign. 

Inspection process 

Marine inspectors will undertake this FIC in conjunction with regular DCV inspections or may conduct a standalone FIC inspection.  

Where an inspector finds a deficiency in relation to the attached checklist, the inspector will discuss this with the person in charge of the DCV with a view to ensuring the vessel is brought into compliance. 

Outcome of the FIC 

The results of the FIC will be analysed and a report prepared. This report will be published on the AMSA website. 

Inspection checklist 

Below is a sample of the focused inspection campaign on construction barges checklist. 




Has a risk assessment of the current operations of the barge been carried out which identifies key daily tasks, potential risks, appropriate crewing, and a responsible person? MO504 Sch1 C2 




Does the barge have required stability documentation where applicable? NSCV C6C 2.8,5.4, EX02 D2.1(f), MO504 Sch1 C2,C7* 




Have procedures been developed to ensure barge stability during construction operations? MO504 Sch1 C7 




Does the emergency plan include procedures for responding to a person overboard? MO504 Sch1 C8 




Is there evidence of training for initial safety training, key onboard operations, and emergency procedures where applicable for the operation? MO504 Sch1 C6 




Does the barge carry required safety equipment? NSCV C7A, NSCV G, EX41* 




Last updated: 

Tuesday 28 June 2022