Inland Waterway Accidents

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Port of Bridgeport, Alabama

Located on the Tennessee River in Bridgeport, Alabama, this port handles cargo from the river and rail traffic on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad. The Port of Bridgeport is managed by the Alabama State Port Authority and operated by Southeast Wood Fiber, LLC. Its barge terminals are used for transport of timber, coal, iron ore, steel, and other bulk materials. The facility is used by both public and private businesses. The port’s loading ramp and mooring cells are run by TAC Alloys.

The port’s location allows vessels to easily reach the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, for a four-day trip to the Port of Mobile from the northeast corner of Alabama. A river port existed before the town of Bridgeport was founded. First known as Jonesville, the area received a railroad line in 1852, and a bridge was built across the river in 1854. In addition to rail access, the port is near State Road 277 and State Highway 72, which serves the City of Bridgeport, in Jackson County.

Inland Port Hazards

Traffic hazards exist on the busy rounds around Bridgeport, and in the port as well. Larger ports see more automobile and cargo moving traffic, but anyone operating a vehicle on the premises must be aware of how to safely use equipment, gauge traffic safety, and be aware of obstacles on the ground, including cables and cargo handling equipment and machinery. There is also often:

  • A lack of illumination.
  • Inadequate traffic lights, signs, and signals.
  • Insufficient designated parking areas.
  • Welding operations, which can be fire hazards.
  • Industrial vehicles with a right of way.

Traffic routes can change suddenly near a port terminal, but employees often don’t communicate this properly so other workers and vehicle operators would know to be on the lookout. Driver fatigue can be a problem, especially during shift changes, because workers often go for long hours without breaks and therefore may be sleepy. This is a common cause of traffic-related injuries and deaths. This and other factors are contributors to vehicular accidents at ports and the focus of Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines.

There are numerous other hazards at large and small ports. These include:

  • Vessel mooring, which includes manual handling of heavy ropes and winches.
  • Lifting operations involving heavy cargo and machinery.
  • Manual handling of loads and lifting gear, and operation of container carriers and cranes.
  • Runovers, crushes, and falls involving vehicles, not managed by traffic controls or designated truck/pedestrian zones.
  • Weather conditions and tidal effects that can impact ship access and control.
  • Toxic, corrosive, and flammable chemicals combined with flammable environments.
  • Poor surface conditions (wetness, stray gear, and poor lighting) that can lead to slips, trips, and falls.
  • Work at elevated locations, where handling loads, working on edges and having poor access can lead to falls.

Fill out our online form to obtain more information about how you can get help if injured on the job, and possibly get compensation due to the negligence of another party under maritime or federal law.

Port of Bridgeport, Alabama
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