If you've recently been hired to work on the barges, and your job description involves the loading and unloading of those barges, you'll need to take your safety very seriously. While the foreman will work to ensure a safe work environment, it's up to you to take steps to protect yourself as well. If you've never worked on a barge before, it's important that you listen to, and understand, all the training you'll receive prior to the start of your new job. In addition, here are four steps you can take to prevent on-the-job accidents.

Secure the Barges

When the barges arrive, they'll be secured to the docks. However, that doesn't mean you should just assume that they're secured properly. Before you begin unloading any laden barges, be sure to check the mooring to ensure they're secure. If the barge isn't securely attached to the dock, don't board it. Instead, notify the foreman so that the barge can be properly secured.

Keep the Decks Clear

Barges can get busy on deck, especially while they're being loaded and unloaded. As the crew is busy conducting their tasks, it can be easy to get caught up, and forget to clear the area. Unfortunately, if the deck is cluttered with debris, someone can get seriously injured. While you're working, always make sure that the deck remains clear, and free of any debris. If you see debris lying about, remove it as quickly as possible.

Always Use the Ramps

Once the barges arrive at the docks, you might be tempted to get a head start on the unloading by using rope ladders and other devices to board the barges. However, cutting corners, and not waiting for the ramp to be lowered, can lead to serious accidents and injuries. To avoid those accidents, always wait until the ramps have been lowered before boarding the barge. If the ramps won't be lowered, be sure to use the marine gangway, or straight barge ladders instead.

Never Work Without Your Life Jacket

Even if you're an excellent swimmer, never work on or around the barge without the proper life jacket on. There are many hazards around the barges, and any one of them can cause you to fall into the water. If you fall into the water while you're unconscious, or you're tangled in netting or other debris, your life jacket will save you from drowning. If a life jacket is not available, wait until one is before you begin your shift.

For more information, contact companies like Sundbeck Inc.