How to Incorporate Safety into Barge Deck Design

Barge Decking

A barge is a boat with a flat bottom built mainly for river and canal transportation of goods.  There is a plethora of types of barges, from an oil barges to car barges.  One common factor of each type of barge is the barge deck that can often become slippery.  Fall hazards are a potential issue for crews and employees, as they are the leading cause of fatalities for this industry.  Barge cleaning workers are required to work in potentially dangerous environments and accidents involving elevation equipment can be serious, even fatal.  High pressure cleaning and weather elements can add to the slipperiness of barge decking.

How to incorporate safety into barge decking:

  1. Choose the correct product to use as flooring/walking surfaces on the barge deck.
    • Slip resistance, corrosion resistance, weight and design play an important role in this choice.
  2. Determine which areas will be subjected to slippery materials most often.
    • Ladders and stairs are other areas where slip resistance is often critical.
  3. Measure the barge deck to determine the dimensions of material needed.
  4. Research the longevity of the product you are considering, temporary products will not stand up to this type of environment and a permanent solution that requires little maintenance is ideal.
  5. Make sure all deck openings, flush manholes and edges are covered to prevent falls.  Grating or perforated plate are ideal for this, as it will provide a strong, slip resistant walking surface, as well as drainage.
  6. Provide employees with the proper safety equipment such as fall protection (harness and lanyard).


These are just a few of the steps that should be taken when designing a barge deck.  Barge decks can also be retrofitted with a new material if you would like to incorporate slip resistance into an existing design.  SLIPNOT provides products in steel, stainless steel, galvanized steel and aluminum, providing versatility for multiple environments.

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