Flammable and combustible cargo barge cleaning is the process of removing residual cargo and cleaning the tanks on the barge in order to load a new or different cargo, inspect, or repair. Cleaning may be conducted on a barge while at a pier, in a drydock, while beached, or at anchor. The cleaning process typically includes:
Each of these steps include many of the same hazards. The most important hazards are to due flammable materials, and inhalation or skin contact from chemical exposures. It is important to address Hazard Communication [29 CFR 1915.1200], personal protective equipment [29 CFR 1915 Subpart I], and the exposure limits in 29 CFR 1915 Subpart Z. These hazards should be evaluated throughout the barge cleaning process.
Typical cargoes carried by tank barges, which may expose workers, include but are not limited to:
- NIOSH Pocket Guide
- NFPA 306, Control of Gas Hazards on Vessels. National Fire Protection Association.
- 33 CFR, Subpart 154 - Facilities Transferring Oil or Hazardous Materials in Bulk. This regulation is available on-line through the GPO Access website.
- 154.735 - Safety Requirements. U.S. Coast Guard. This regulation allows for the incorporation of the International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers & Terminals (ISGOTT) guide for tank cleaning under 33 CFR 154.735(s)(1-3).
- OCIMF International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers & Terminals. International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). This document outlines the international standard for cleaning tanks.
- Safety Guidelines For Tank Vessel Cleaning Facilities. American Waterways Shipyard Conference. This guideline was created by the American Waterways Shipyard Conference (AWSC). AWSC merged with the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) in 1999.
Note: Confined space entry is one of the leading hazards associated with barge cleaning. Review the Ship Repair: Confined or Enclosed Spaces and Other Dangerous Atmospheres chapter for information on how to protect workers from this hazard.