Access and Guarding of Work Surfaces >> Access and Guarding of Drydocks and Marine Railways

Figure 1: Empty graving dock
Figure 1: Empty graving dock.
Figure 2: Barge on marine railway
Figure 2: Barge on marine railway.

There are three primary ways to haul a vessel out of the water. These include using a floating drydock, a graving dock, or a marine railway. Other methods are used to haul vessels such as travel lifts and synchrolifts.

Moving cranes on wing walls of drydocks and marine railway equipment (such as winches, carriage, and stiles) exposes workers to crushing and caught-between hazards. Assessments need to be conducted to protect employees from fall hazards.

Figure 3: Improper practice -Vessel in floating dry dock with unguarded ends

Potential Hazards

  • Workers falling and tripping while boarding a vessel
  • Injuries from rotating machinery such as winches, gears, cables, and pulleys
  • Falls from wing walls, stiles of marine railways, and catwalks
  • Falling into the water from unguarded ends of floating drydocks and marine railways.
Figure 4: Permanent, properly guarded stairways to dry dock floor

Requirements and Example Solutions

  • An adequate gangway, ramp, or permanent stairway must be provided between a floating drydock, piers or bulkhead, and for access to wing walls and drydock floors. [29 CFR 1915.75(a), (b), (c)]
  • The open ends of floating drydocks must be adequately guarded. [29 CFR 1915.75(e)]
  • Cradles or carriages on marine railways must be positively secured. [29 CFR 1915.115(e)(1)]
  • Moving parts and machinery on drydocks must be guarded. [29 CFR 1915.131(d)]
Figure  5: Improper practice - Barge on marine railway showing track and carriages which must be secured