Inland Waterway Accidents

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Pickens County Port, Alabama

Pickens County Port, located near Pickensville, Alabama, is at river mile 308 of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. Connected to the Burlington Northern Railroad, the port is used for general transfer operations of freight such as grain, cement, gypsum, potash, and wood products. Amenities at this small inland port include:

  • A 24,000 square foot warehouse
  • Outdoor storage area, topped with a crushed stone surface
  • A steel pile bulkhead dock, which incorporates mooring cells
  • A 100-ton capacity mobile crane
  • Fixed conveyor and front-end loader

Located in Carrollton, Alabama, off of Highway 86 W, the river port is one of three in the county and operated by the Pickens County Port Authority. Pickens County Ports Inc, a privately held firm, was established in 1987. It has an annual revenue of $650,000.

Accident Risks at Inland Ports

Workers injured on the job at ports such as this one may receive compensation under maritime law, such as the Jones Act. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration oversees issues such as traffic safety at marine terminals. This is important because there are many transportation-related hazards at these facilities, not only related to ships, but to automobiles and port-related vehicles as well. Unsafe equipment, driving obstacles, distracted driving, and a lack of proper signaling and other traffic controls contribute to the risk at port facilities.

Additional hazards come about because of a lack of illumination; a lack of training, awareness, or communication; and driver fatigue. Dock and port workers often put in long hours, but fatigue can lead to inattentiveness and sleepiness, impairing the ability to perform normally and respond to potential hazards. Speed is an issue too, especially in areas where terminal layout and presence of equipment and other vehicles may not be as organized as on traditional roads.

Parking in the wrong places, proximity to welding operations, and smoking near fuel sources can lead to trouble, as can driving near material handling areas with large containers and other cargo. But the hazards aren’t limited to those in or near vehicles. Working at or near lifting operations can be dangerous if cargo isn’t properly secured. There may be harmful chemicals nearby that might be toxic or flammable. Any fire in a port area has the potential to be severe because chemicals and vapors may be present that can cause a major explosion.

Injuries from manual handling are common. They can range from bruises and sprains to major musculoskeletal, bone, and brain injuries. Although working at heights and near water has fall risks, any slippery or wet surface can be the focal point of a slip, trip, or fall. Poor lighting, icy surfaces, improperly maintained floors and gratings, and loose cables and ropes can mean big trouble.

Injured while working on the job? Fill out our online form to receive information on whether you have a case and may be entitled to compensation.

Pickens County Port, Alabama
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