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

Figure 1: Empty graving dock.
Figure 1: Empty graving dock.

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.

Figure 2: Barge on marine railway.
Figure 2: Barge on marine railway.

Moving cranes on wingwalls 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)]