Worker safety is a primary concern at barge loading sites. Frigid water temperatures are common in winter, and severe hypothermia can result in little more than a few minutes whenever a person becomes submerged into extremely cold water. Rapid river currents often carry a victim away so fast that rescue teams have difficulty obtaining and mobilizing a rescue effort. Unprotected falls into the water are even more dangerous when the victim falls toward oncoming water flow, since the undertow current may pull the victim under the vessel, creating a "drowning crisis" that inhibits their ability to re-surface. Life jackets alone cannot be expected to protect a victim from these extreme conditions.
**Virtually every barge loading company we have consulted with has told us their primary concern focuses on terminating falls into the water.
A fall tethering system that safely prevents the fall victim from total immersion in the water is a much better solution to the problem. For the first time in our industry, Fall Protection Systems has introduced a line of Barge Protection Systems to make that goal possible.
Barge sites are among the most challenging applications for an equipment manufacturer. River water depths vary considerably during the average year, and a fall tethering system must allow for this issue. Furthermore, waterfront locations can make mounting arrangements for an overhead system hard to find. Existing piers and dolphins have to be carefully scrutinized for use as potential mounting locations, and Fall Protection Systems has the proper staff to accomplish that task.
Fall Protection Systems has designed and built several turnkey riverfront barge loading facilities. Our experience is unparalleled in the fall protection industry, and we are the first and only fall protection company to build complete trolley rail style fall tethering systems for barge loading facilities.
The engineering challenges to create an effective solution are numerous. The trolley beam and supporting columns must clear the existing product loading equipment. The system must also accommodate significant water fluctuations. And last, but equally challenging, the system has to contend with the wide coverage area required to protect a worker on a barge fall tethering system.
This system does provide a tremendous safety benefit to the user. Barges tend to rock and roll several feet up and down on rough water. Wind adds another obstacle to safety when traversing a barge surface. Ice, snow and freezing rain further make safe walking treacherous in winter weather conditions. Our system addresses these issues effectively, allowing the user to hold onto a very stable lifeline while traversing the barge surface. A sharp tug at the bottom end of the stainless steel lifeline locks the internal brake mechanism, but the trolley will continue to roll freely and smoothly across the trolley beam. The user can use this "tug and walk" method to stabilize him as he safely traverses the hazardous surface. Our customers tell us that this feature alone justifies installing a system.
Since no two barge loading sites are likely to be the same, Fall Protection Systems can custom engineer a system solution to meet the needs of any facility. The photos on this website are of typical sites we have addressed. Our trained systems engineers are available upon request to survey your site and provide, free of charge, a detailed cost estimate to equip your facility.
OSHA, MSHA, ANSI and US Coast Guard Compliant!