Port of Florence, Alabama
The Port of Florence, Alabama, is located at river mile marker 256.6 on the Tennessee River in Florence, and across the water from Muscle Shoals. It is operated by the Florence-Lauderdale Port Authority and serves regional businesses and industries. Steel, aluminum, fertilizer, coal, and minerals are transferred through here. The port is located on Pickwick Lake, with access to the river’s main navigation channel and Wilson Lock, less than three miles away.
Spanning 40 acres, the facility has a 24,000-square foot warehouse, 40-ton overhead crane, mobile cranes, outside storage, scales, and conveyors. It also has a lighted public dock, plus a connection to the Tennessee-Southern Railroad that serves North Florence, Industrial Park. A multi-modal transportation facility enables businesses to take advantage of a central location, where Atlanta, Georgia, can be accessed in four hours and Nashville, Memphis, and Birmingham can be reached in two hours. The facility also affords access to Interstates and the local road transportation system.
Safety Risks at Inland Ports
The Port of Florence isn’t immune to most of the safety hazards that are found at similar facilities. Handling cargo can be quite dangerous, especially if the equipment isn’t maintained the way it should and operators aren’t adequately trained. Cranes, winches, and cables can cause injuries that can have lifelong consequences or even death. The electrical equipment used in conjunction with them, including things as complex as generators to as simple as wiring, can malfunction, causing shocks and electrocutions.
Cargo itself can be hazardous. Regardless of whether it holds standard goods or dangerous chemicals, a cargo container is an accident waiting to happen if it is not secured properly, is unstable, or not being transported according to guidelines. A loose fitting or one not correctly fit can trigger a chain reaction that leads to disaster. Workers are even at risk of repetitive strain injuries when operating cranes and other lifting equipment.
Mechanical, electrical, and heavy equipment isn’t the only hazard workers face. Employees can be injured even if loads aren’t hovering over their heads or machinery isn’t nearby. They can fall on a slippery deck, or go overboard on a vessel at a dock. Slips, trips, and falls are some of the most injury-causing accidents and can lead to devastating head, spinal, and brain injuries, as well as shoulder, back, and neck problems. Unfenced areas around docks and at elevated locations are especially hazardous. Workers securing loads, trimming, securing containers, and aboard ships are especially at risk if there is inadequate protection against falls.
Another key safety concern at ports is traffic. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued guidelines that address unsafe driving, road conditions, and traffic signaling on port premises. Sudden changes in routes and a lack of communication can confuse drivers. There is also interaction with pedestrians and vehicles used to transport cargo and equipment. Weather, fatigue, and distracted driving are problematic as well. Depending on the injury and the circumstances, the maritime law may offer protections and compensation.
Contact us via our online web form for more information about applicable laws and potential compensation, if you have been hurt on the job at Florence.