United States
Department of Labor

Search form


MNM Safety Alert - Water Related Safety

Working Near Water Hazards

HAZARD - Working around, over, or near water

POTENTIAL OUTCOME - Entrapment, drowning

RISKS – Traveling or operating equipment near water, equipment weight and vibration, undercut banks, sloughing ground, varied water depth, swift currents, inadequate berms, narrow roadways, electrocution. 

five scenes of water related fatalities and a life jacket and ring with the word "rescue"
Best Practices: 
  • Conduct daily workplace examinations.
  • Know the water depth and subsurface conditions and ground conditions before you begin work.
  • Keep equipment a safe distance back from the water’s edge.
  • Avoid traveling over ice covered water.
  • Provide handrails around docks and work boats.
  • Properly berm roadways near water hazards.
  • Always wear a Coast Guard approved Type I or Type V personal flotation device (PFD) when working around water, even when inside mobile equipment. Auto-inflatable, if possible.
  • Keep water rescue equipment easily accessible.
  • Know where extra PFDs and rescue rings are stowed.
  • Practice good housekeeping and keep all travel ways clear around water hazards.