Focused inspection campaign on construction barges

AMSA conducted a focused inspection campaign (FIC) on domestic commercial vessel construction barges from 1 May to 30 June 2022.

The campaign focused on Marine Order 504 (Certificates of operation and operation requirements — national law) 2018 safety management system requirements for: 

  • Risk assessment for construction barge activities.  
  • Procedures and training to protect against the identified risks. 

In conjunction with standard inspections of DCV construction barges, specific questions relating to construction barge safety were asked by the AMSA inspectors.

Before this FIC, we released our construction barges safety campaign on our website. The campaign includes risk assessment guidance. 

Visit our construction barge safety campaign (  

Where possible the campaign was conducted alongside regional WHS authorities. 


129 FIC inspections were carried out during the campaign, 32 of which were carried out alongside the relevant state or territory WHS authority. 

The FIC showed concerning results in 3 areas: 

  • 20% of construction barges did not have a risk assessment identifying key daily tasks, potential risks, appropriate crewing, and a responsible person. 
  • 19% of construction barges had no procedures to ensure barge stability during construction operations. 
  • 19% of construction barges had no evidence of initial safety training, key onboard operations and emergency procedures. 

The FIC showed more positive results in 2 areas: 

  • 95% of construction barges had procedures for responding to a person overboard in the emergency plan. 
  • 94% of construction barges carried the required safety equipment. 

7 National Law Notices and 65 deficiencies and were issued related to questions in the FIC.  

Our continued focus 

AMSA has promulgated educational guidance relating to construction barge safety. Construction barge owners, masters and crew are strongly encouraged to review this guidance and take steps to ensure that: 

  • risk assessments identify all potential hazards related to construction operations.  
  • procedures are in place to protect against the identified risks particularly related to vessel stability. 
  • the person or persons responsible for maintaining the stability of the vessel during construction operations, has stability information readily available and in a format they can understand and use to safely operate the vessel. 
  • crew are adequately trained so they understand the hazards of the operation, can follow the procedures to safely carry out their duties and can respond rapidly and effectively in an emergency. 

Visit our construction barge safety campaign ( for guidance.

A current risk assessment that considers all potential hazards and risks to safety during construction barge activities, followed-up with controls to protect against those risks (procedures, emergency plans and training) are essential steps to ensure your general safety duties are met under the national law. 

As a result of this campaign, during inspection of DCV construction barges AMSA intends to check that the risk assessment, procedures for safety, emergency plans and training meet the requirements of the operation as required by Marine Order 504.

Construction barge FIC results





Was the inspection conducted in conjunction with a WHS authority? 






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? 






Does the barge have required stability documentation where applicable? 






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






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






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






Does the barge carry required safety equipment?  121   94% 8 6%  
Were any deficiencies recorded related to a question or questions in this FIC?  65 50% 64 50%  
Were any National Law notices issued related to a question or questions in this FIC?  7 5% 122 95%  


Last updated: 28 June 2023