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Working Near Water Safely


Working on a construction site that is located over or near water comes with a set of very serious dangers. Even if you are a good swimmer, working around water means you are exposed the risk of the following:

·         Slipping and falling

·         Drowning

·         Being trapped

·         Being hurt on impact when falling into the water

·         Hypothermia

·         Infections transferred through water


Everyday Precautions

To keep yourself safe, follow these guidelines regarding working near water:

·         Make sure your working platform is secure and free of any tripping hazards, such as tools, wire, timber or bricks.

·         Ensure that surfaces do not become slippery by cleaning, gritting them or applying industrial salt or sand.

·         Check that access ladders, guardrails and toe boards are firmly fixed in position.

·         Wear a safety helmet at all times. If something hits you on the head and you fall into the water, you are at a high risk of injury or death.

·         Wear a life jacket, and ensure it is properly fastened.

·         Use any safety nets or safety harnesses provided.

·         Check that lifebuoys fitted with lifelines are close at hand for immediate use in the event of an emergency.

·         Ensure that there is a skiff or safety boat and that it is manned while you work above water.

·         If you are above tidal water or a fast-flowing river, safety boats must have a motor with a self-starting device.

·         Notify your supervisor if there are not one or more ring buoys located at 150 foot intervals across the work area.

·         Know how the alarm system works and how to sound it for an emergency or a rescue drill.


Life Jackets

No matter what happens, it is crucial for your safety that you wear a functional, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket whenever there is the danger of you falling in the water. For your safety, take the following precautions:

·         Before and after each use, inspect your life preserver for defects that might weaken it or prevent it from floating.

·         Fasten all latches on your life jacket.


Looking Out for Each Other

Whenever you are working on a job near water, do not work alone. You and your co-workers must keep a constant eye on each other.

·         Pick a buddy and periodically check in with each other.

·         Count the number of workers on-site, and check that everyone is present regularly.


Barges and Work Platforms

If you are working on a floating work platform without railings (not in a cab or equipment compartment), be sure that you are wearing a life jacket.

If you have any doubt about your safety on site, ask your supervisor. Your safety comes first at.


Provided by: Hausmann-Johnson Insurance

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