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OSHA Trade Release

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Trade News Release 09-99-NAT
Jan. 29, 2009
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999



OSHA publishes new Deck Barge Safety Guidance Document and Spud Barge Fact Sheet

WASHINGTON -- Slips, trips and falls, fire and falling overboard are among the major safety topics addressed in two new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) online publications designed to protect maritime industry employees.

The Deck Barge Safety Guidance Document was developed to educate employers and employees on preventing injuries and illnesses from hazards associated with deck barges. Other topics mentioned in the document are machinery and equipment, confined or enclosed spaces and training. The Spud Barge Safety Fact Sheet lists three methods that can prevent the spuds, which are vertical steel shafts that hold deck barges in place, from accidentally dropping or slipping. The fact sheet also offers safety measures for employers and employees working on barges and towing vessels. Both publications were produced as a result of a 2006 barge-related accident that caused five fatalities.

Deck barges and spud barges are flat boats or vessels that carry cargo and are also used in the marine construction industry for work such as pier or bulkhead construction, dredging, bridge construction and maintenance, and marine oil service.

Both the guidance document and the fact sheet identify the connection between proper controls, procedures and training, and they also seek to increase awareness of hazards and identify solutions to prevent injuries and fatalities.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA¿s role is to promote the safety and health of America¿s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit









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