Both sides struggled to create clear-cut opportunities and showed why they are still not guaranteed to avoid the drop, but the draw leaves the Tykes eight points above third-bottom Sheffield Wednesday, with Derby seven points better off than the Owls with three games remaining.
Nigel Clough's side had marginally the better of the play, with Tomasz Cywka impressive in his first start since his loan move from Wigan, the Pole having a shot cleared off the line in the second half.
It was a fourth consecutive draw for Mark Robins' Barnsley, while Derby are unbeaten in four away from home.
Derby were almost punished for giving the ball away near their own penalty area 12 minutes in, but Shaun Barker produced a timely block to deny former Rams striker Jon Macken.
Tykes winger Adam Hammill tried his luck with a right-footed strike but the former Liverpool man's effort hit the side-netting.
Barker has been in fine form for Derby in recent weeks and the centre-back met Michael Tonge's corner with a towering header which was tipped over the crossbar by Luke Steele after 28 minutes.
Barnsley's leading goalscorer, Daniel Bogdanovic, spurned an excellent chance to open the scoring 12 minutes before the break when he fired over the crossbar from 12 yards.
But the first half always looked destined to finish goalless due to a lack of quality in the final third from both sides.
Derby looked more lively early in the second half and Tonge swung in another corner which was headed over the bar by Hulse.
And the Rams had the best chance of the game when a mix-up in the Barnsley defence resulted in Steele leaving an empty net for Cywka to shoot towards but Luke Potter cleared off the line.
Barnsley were on the backfoot and after Steele had spilled a Tonge corner Nathan Doyle cleared off the line once again.
Derby were dominant and Steve Davies should have done better with a left-footed finish from 12 yards but the former Tranmere forward failed to hit the target.
Barnsley lost Bogdanovic to injury with just over 20 minutes remaining and a scrappy period of play ensued with neither side looking particularly threatening.
Macken was presented with a sight of goal with 10 minutes remaining but failed to get his shot away and the Derby defence snuffed out the threat.
Tykes substitute Andy Gray also had half a chance but, under pressure from Barker, the former Charlton man shot tamely wide.
Cywka raced into the box with six minutes remaining but Steele got down to make the save.