Picture of Michael Anzalone

Barge Worker Accidents

It can be hazardous work to tow and work on lighters and barges on the water.

Engineers, captains, cooks, seamen, deckhands, and first mates usually work in devastating ice and snow.

The workers become exposed to various hazards, which can result in barge worker accidents.

Due to that, it is the responsibility of barge operating companies, and vessel owners to safeguard, at all cost, the workers.

They have the responsibility to offer safety equipment, and to maintain the quality of the floating vessels to be prepared for sea.

A flat bottom vessel is a barge, with a capacity to carry vast freight volumes on open waters.

A smaller version of the classic barge is a powered lighter. It is used normally to transport freight to ships moored in harbor from the shoreline.

The flat bottom can produce a shallow draft, which can make it viable for transporting on canals and shallow rivers.

Under their own power, several barges can move, while others need to be towed.

Sustained Injuries by Workers on Barges

The sheer weight and size of a barge moving can cause harmful scenarios in barge worker accidents.

Workers check each barge constantly for leaks, or operate locks and dams with the use of winch and capstan equipment. 


The injuries, typically, sustained on board a tow or barge can be critical, namely when the accident occurs while the weather becomes inclement.

Normally, a crew member will sustain injuries when operating a towboat, tugboat, or barge when managing lines, rigging, ropes, and steel cables to hold barges on the tug, and/or against one another.

The vast majority of barge worker accidents happen from problems in slipping and handling, or a malfunction in equipment.

Typical kinds of injuries onboard sustained by barge workers entail the following:

Falling and slipping to result in many head traumas and traumatic brain injuries when crew members are forced to operate on slippery surfaces, or when not offered safety equipment or hard hats.

Crew members can suffer easily from crushing injuries to the vertebrae and spinal cord during accidents of slip and fall, and colliding barges, to leave them disabled temporarily or permanently.

Many injuries in the lower back result in overexertion when the workers are forced to lift or transport amounts of weight in excess for the job due to a lack of training by the captain, or not sufficient crew members.

Due to the cumbersome cargo on barges in transit, many a crew member can sustain fractured bones while handling freight.

In a number of cases, bones become fractured or broken when handling rigging, equipment, and machinery.

The hands of crew members can become crushed easily by a cable or steel line during an accident of “pinch-point.”

Crew members and workers can die due to the negligence of boat captains and barge operators when there is failure in communication, such as insufficient training, hazardous work conditions, and the use of machinery with defects.

Barge workers have among the highest rates of critical injuries and deaths in comparison to various maritime workers.

Contact us for a free consultation or call Anzalone Law Firm PLLC, at: 603.548.3797.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Great lawyer...Professional, organized, caring and effective. Michael is very informative and was always willing to explain the reasons behind what was being done. Can't say enough about how helpful he was every step of the way. It was really nice to feel like I actually understood what was going on with my case.