Marine gangways

10 Minute Tips: Marine Loading/Unloading Safety Checks

 Take 10 minutes and learn tips that will help save lives and save money for your ship and barge loading operations.

When accessing a ship or barge a proper setup is needed to provide safe conditions while keeping operations efficient for marine loading and unloading. Taking the necessary steps now will help prevent costly accidents or mistakes in the future. These tips will also help save you money with increased efficiencies and less downtime.

You already know that working in a marina with loading docks and specialized equipment can present certain challenges for keeping workers safe while also staying productive. Check out “Top 5 Ways Environmental Factors Make Marine Loading a Consistent Challenge To Be Safe.”

These tips are meant to give you guidance on how you can protect workers without a decrease in operational effectiveness.

  1. Establish The Groundwork First
    Before you can hit the ground running, you need to establish a baseline of goals and the strategies that will help achieve those goals. The goals may have milestone goals along the way, but working towards the desired endpoint that you can measure or finish is key. Another initial task is to make your employees aware of the new initiatives that will ultimately affect and benefit them.


  2. The Right Equipment is Key
    Looking around at all of your equipment, if already in place, you will be sure to see some concerning things such as rust, sharp edges, and loose components. You may also spot equipment that is either out of date, no longer in compliance, or does not even help complete the job as effectively as possible. An example is a rusted gangway that does not meet the latest OSHA regulations and has a large gap right before the ship or barge. The first step is to bring in an expert or consultant if you are unsure of what may need to be updated or purchased. Find a trusted source that can provide advice, recommendations, and products that are reliable, will last years and years depending on the environment, and are regulation compliant. Custom fabrication is an option, but one that can get expensive and time-consuming, so it is recommended to look for pre-fabricated solutions first.


  3. Frequent Safety Checks/Updates

    Safety improvements do not just stop after the initial implementation and completion of goals. Regular checks need to be performed by safety and operational experts. If issues are found, or new initiatives are created, then new goals need to be defined. The best way to approach goal setting is to prioritize the risk or hazard level and look to correct those issues first. If the correction is expensive or time-consuming try to think of temporary fixes or solutions until a more long-term fix can be implemented.



  4. Revolving Feedback Loop
    Having eyes everywhere always makes for a safe
    environment no matter the application.

    When it comes to the risky environment of the ship and barge loading/unloading, having eyes everywhere is especially important. You and your fellow managers responsible for safety cannot be everywhere at once so it is easier and more efficient if all employees are aware. From the successful execution of Tip 1 (Making all employees aware of safety procedures) and Tip 3 (Frequent checks and updates), employees will know what to keep an eye out for and how to report any unsafe situations or potential hazards. Be sure to make the feedback loop easy for employees to use by establishing an open-door policy and providing feedback boxes or an email address for employees to easily submit any unsafe things they see. Also, keep everyone informed of updates and progress made in relation to safety on the worksite. The more knowledge the employees have, the more empowered they will feel to point out unsafe conditions.


These tips are guidance points to begin taking your program to the next level. You may be doing all of these or some of these, but haven’t taken the time lately to update processes or are just going through the motions without the desired results. Results matter. Measure everything you are doing so that you can trackback and make adjustments that will help contribute to the safest work environment you can have. Improvements are always going to be needed as environments change, culture changes, and people change. Don’t settle for anything less than the best.

SafeRack’s aluminum gangways for barge access and ship access are constructed of durable corrosion-resistant marine-grade aluminum and built to last. Gangways are available in sizes up to 50′ in length and 5′ in width. Our marine gangways are designed for OHSA-compliant worker safety, durability, and reliability in marine environments and are built-to-order to your required length and specifications. Learn about all of SafeRack’s marine products and solutions.