Port of Decatur, Alabama
The Port of Decatur, at Tennessee River mile mark 304.1, was established in 1971 and offers over 2,000 feet of riverfront. This facility has over 90 fleeting spots and a U.S. Coast Guard facility. It is a site where steel, asphalt, pipe, coal, sand, grains, and dry fertilizers are loaded and unloaded, and five million tons of freight are handled each year. Based in Decatur, Alabama, the port is near State Highway 20 and Alternate U.S. 72, and just six miles from Interstate 65/565. Also, it is one mile away from U.S. 31.
Barges can reach New Orleans in two weeks. Hunt Asphalt, Bunge North America-Grain, and Pine Bluff Materials have distributed materials from here for some time. Facilities at Decatur include a 24,000-foot warehouse, field warehousing, a bobcat, 800 to 1,000 horsepower switch boats, a 175-ton crawler crane, four forklifts, and a front end loader with a 6-yard bucket. There is also liquid bulk storage, plus a direct dump to barge ramp and barge to rail/truck hopper.
Services offered include bilge pumping, truck weighing, inspections, tankerman services, fresh water, cover handling, and dry/liquid unloading. Decatur supports hopper and tank barges. The Mary Ethel towboat is employed to push barges up and down the river and has been maintained and upgraded since its introduction in 1971.
Served by the Norfolk Southern Railroad and accessible to the CSX Railroad, Decatur is served by major local trucking companies. Vessels can reach Knoxville, Tennessee, and Paducah, Kentucky, as well as the Tennessee-Tombigbee River, so a water path is available from Decatur all the way to the Port of Mobile.
Injury Risks at Decatur
Many common hazards exist at maritime ports, whether they are located on the coast or inland. Manual handling, vessel mooring, and cargo handling and lifting can lead to accidents in which workers can be struck, crushed, or experience strains and broken bones. Since workers can often spend long hours on the job without breaks, fatigue can be an issue. Exhausted employees may forget safety procedures and have poor perception, after spending much time waiting for ships to arrive and conducting physically demanding labor.
Exposure to fire hazards and chemicals is a risk as well. Burn injuries are not uncommon at ports and on ships. Slips, trips, and falls are not rare either. Slippery surfaces can go unnoticed by maintenance crews and workers who are busy managing many tasks. A fall on the ground, from a ladder, from heights, or into the water can lead to instant death and perhaps life-changing injuries such as broken bones, head trauma, and amputations.
Another issue at places like the Port of Decatur is traffic safety. Equipment safety, speed, traffic controls, parking, and safe driving are concerns. Pedestrians often walk on the same paths as vehicles travel, which may include automobiles, forklifts, and cargo carriers.
Fill in our online form if you’ve been injured in port, and our team will help you the best they can with information about how maritime law may offer protections and compensation.