Construction work near to water

There are special safety requirements for work near to water, e.g. harbours, quays, bridges, waterways, lakes and dikes.

Planning of such work must prevent hazardous work processes. If this is not possible, there must always be several people involved in doing the work so that nobody works alone.

The Danish Maritime Authority is the authority for the working environment at sea.
Their guidelines for contract works at sea can be found at www.sofartsstyrelsen.dk.
As a rule of thumb, the rules of the Working Environment Authority are applicable when work (on craft and platforms) is carried out on water but the craft/platform is moored on land. All other work on water is regulated according to the rules of the Danish Maritime Authority.

In connection with construction projects near to water or at sea, or prior to such projects, you must:

  • Describe how the project may affect navigational safety (risk of collision, etc.) and assess how any risk may be reduced.
  • Hold a consultation with the users of the waters and the authorities, i.e. acquire statements from parties affected, e.g. the harbour authorities, pilots, the Danish Road Directorate, the Danish Coastal Authority, etc.
  • Acquire permission from the Danish Maritime Safety Administration concerning delineation of any buoys.
  • Ensure that working boats offer good visibility and communication:
    • including the ability to communicate on the maritime VHF channels.
    • if the boat is less than 12 m long, it must be equipped with a radar reflector.
    • if work is to take place in busy waters in a boat more than 12 m long, it must be possible to transmit an AIS-A signal (Automatic Identification System Signal).
  • At the latest four weeks before you start work, you must inform Searchable Notices to Mariners of the names and callsigns of the ships, which VHF channels are monitored, and other relevant information relating to the activity so that mariners can be made aware of the activity.
  • At the latest four weeks before you start work, you must submit an application to the Danish Maritime Authority if the project requires a temporary area with navigational restrictions.
  • Be aware to special conditions if there are any submarine cables or pipelines in the area.
  • Be aware that different requirements are specified in terms of safety equipment, depending on which type of craft is being used.

There are special planning requirements if there is any risk of drowning. Before work starts, the following must be done:

  • The employer must prepare an assessment of the work with arrangements (work plan) so that the work can be carried out properly.
  • The work is considered to be particularly hazardous when there is a risk of drowning, and so a health and safety plan must always be prepared and contingency, evacuation and exercise plans must be described in this plan.

It will normally be necessary for the necessary safety equipment to be made available at the work site, and it may be necessary to work wearing lifejackets. Collective safety arrangements such as railings and suchlike must be established where possible.
Planning of such work must prevent hazardous work processes. If this is not possible, there must always be several people involved in doing the work so that nobody works alone.

Working at sea

People working at sea are dependent on the equipment they have with them and cannot expect to receive assistance from land. The wind and weather conditions must always be taken into account in the daily planning of work so that hazardous situations can be avoided. One option may be to suspend work completely or temporarily.

An unsinkable dinghy is mandatory on a piledriver or pontoon, and there must also be maritime VHF channels here which can be used in the event of an accident. These may be supplemented with flash signals and similar where necessary.

construction-work-near-to-water-img-1
Signal rockets should be permanent equipment for tasks resulting in particular vulnerability.

There must always be lifebuoys with ropes, rescue hooks and fire extinguishers on all boats, pontoons and dinghies. There must also be a ladder so that anyone who has fallen overboard can climb back aboard.

Everyone aboard must have received instructions on the use of the rescue equipment.

Lifejackets and first aid

Everyone aboard must wear lifejackets.

Assess whether it is necessary to where a survival suit in order to prevent hypothermia.

There must be a first aid case aboard which includes a sling which can be used if there is a risk of major blood loss from wounds on the arms and legs.

At least one person in the team must know how to give first aid, i.e. stop bleeding and give artificial respiration.