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Welcome to Texas Work Injury Law Blog

This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for work injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by work injuries.

A Worker in a Katy, Texas, Auto Shop is Crushed in a Fatal Accident

Posted on February 14th, 2018

Repair Auto Mechanic Car Automobile Service (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On the afternoon of Tuesday, January 30, 2018, a fatal workplace accident occurred at an auto shop in Katy, Texas. On West Grand Parkway South at Premiere Off Road and Performance, which is in a strip center near the Katy Freeway, a truck fell onto a worker, crushing him. It was determined early on that a tire jack somehow failed, causing the deadly incident. Harris County emergency medical services crews, firefighters, and Houston police officers responded to the emergency call. Medics reported that the man had already died at the scene, due to being crushed after the failure of an auto jack or lift. The deadly workplace accident is under investigation. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be among the investigators of the workplace death. The name of the victim was not immediately released by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

According to OSHA, workers at automotive shops are vulnerable to various workplace hazards, including exposure to dangerous chemicals. Workplace standards have been established, to ensure a safe work environment for mechanics.

Research shows that failure to provide adequate safety equipment is among the most common OSHA violations that auto shops are cited for. The types of auto shop safety equipment workers are supposed to have readily available to them include goggles, noise reduction devices, and respiratory safety equipment.

OSHA requires that large, standardized tools such as car lifts must be regularly inspected and serviced, to be up to safety standards. Companies can be penalized and have costly penalties imposed on them, for failure to comply with safety standards.

–Guest Contributor

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Two Construction Workers are Crushed by 1,000 Pounds of Rebar in San Antonio, Texas

Posted on February 8th, 2018

Construction workers in Houston, Texas (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On Thursday, February 1, 2018, approximately 1,000 pounds of rebar crashed down onto two workers at a Texas Department of Transportation construction site in San Antonio, Texas. One of the workers was fully trapped underneath the rebar. His injuries include multiple broken bones and serious head trauma, according to police. He was in critical condition, and paramedics took him to University Hospital. The other worker’s leg was crushed underneath the rebar. He was in serious condition and was also taken to the same medical facility. Debris from the construction accident caused two other workers to suffer minor injuries. They were treated onsite and released.

According to Sgt. Mark Hubbard of the San Antonio Police Department, the injured workers had been tying together a row of rebar support beams approximately 20 yards long. They were forming a support structure. It was going to be lifted onto a pillar onto which a new access road will be built, from Loop 410 to westbound U.S. 90. Tragically, one of the beams suspending the rebar in the air tipped over, which caused all of the rebar to collapse.

The construction incident is being treated as an accident at this time. An investigation will be conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The San Antonio Police Department will make inquiries into the workplace accident, as well.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that workers have a safe workplace environment. OSHA provides safety guidelines that employers are required to follow, for the protection of workers.

–Guest Contributor

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26-year-old Byron Jones Dies at a Tire Shredding Plant in Harris County, Texas, in a Tragic Industrial Accident

Posted on February 8th, 2018

Harris County Courthouse, Houston, Texas Photo: Labeled for reuse)

Byron Jones, age 26, was working at a recycling plant near Sheldon, Texas, on Friday, January 26, 2018, when he got caught in a tire shredder and couldn’t free himself. Tragically, he died in what was described as a gruesome industrial accident. The plant is Genan, Inc., located in northeast Harris County. Co-workers said they reported Jones missing prior to the discovery of what had happened. A federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is underway. OSHA investigators were already at the plant on the weekend just following the workplace fatality. The fatal industrial accident is also being investigated by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the Genan website, the company has plants in Denmark and Germany, and the plant located near Houston is the world’s largest tire recycling plant. Online OSHA records indicate that there has never been an accident at the Harris County site since it opened in 2014.

The family has announced intentions to file a lawsuit in connection with Jones’ death, holding accountable any who may have been negligent or grossly negligent.

Employers have a duty to provide a safe work environment for workers. Among their responsibilities is providing training so that employees are aware of risks in the workplace.

Statistics show that machine guarding is among the ten most cited OSHA violations every year, in spite of strict regulations that try to prevent related accidents. A company providing machine safeguarding services and products, Rockford Systems, LLC, shared the following mistaken beliefs that tend to lead to accidents:

  • Myth 1: Because when they are sold they are fully compliant with OSHA safety guidelines, new machines are safe;
  • Myth 2: OSHA regulations aren’t legal requirements but simply guidelines; and
  • Myth 3: Older machines are exempted from having to meet OSHA standards for machine safety.

–Guest Contributor

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Five Workers Die in a Drilling Rig Explosion in Oklahoma, including a Fort Worth, Texas, Man

Posted on January 24th, 2018

Drilling rig capable of both diamond and rever...

Drilling rig capable of both diamond and reverse circulation drilling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Monday, January 22, 2018, a huge blaze followed a violent explosion at a drilling rig in Oklahoma, killing five workers. The drilling rig, which is west of Quinton, Oklahoma, is owned by Patterson-UTI Energy, a company based in Houston, Texas. Rescuers had to wait until the following day to enter the area, due to the intensity of the fire. On Tuesday, the five missing workers were found in the area they are presumed to have been working in, called the “dog house.” Due to the heat that was there, it is believed to be where the fire initially started. The victims were: 35-year-old Josh Ray of Ft. Worth, Texas; 29-year-old Matt Smith of McAlester, Oklahoma; 26-year-old Cody Risk of Wellington, Colorado; 60-year-old Parker Waldridge of Crescent, Oklahoma; and 55-year-old Roger Cunningham of Seminole, Oklahoma. Smith, Risk, and Ray were employed with the Houston company.

Seventeen workers at the site managed to escape the fire. Some were uninjured, some suffered minor injuries, and one was transported to a Tulsa hospital via medical helicopter.

According to the Pittsburg County Sheriff, Chris Morris, the five workers who died were too near the source of the explosion and fire to escape.

The incident occurred at one of the modern rigs owned by Patterson-UTI, the APEX 1500. The rig and virtually all of the equipment collapsed to the ground by midday on Monday, as the blaze continued.

An investigation will be done to determine what caused the deadly workplace explosion. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) will be among those looking into what happened. There will be an inspection. If any safety violations are discovered, Patterson-UTI could face costly penalties.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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Work Accident Attorney Fort Worth – OSHA Increases Maximum Penalties against Employers for Alleged Safety Violations

Posted on January 19th, 2018

English: Logo for the United States Occupation...

English: Logo for the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency that enforces federal health and safety requirements in the workplace. Inspectors investigate employee complaints and visit companies after serious or fatal illnesses or injuries have occurred. The inspectors impose proposed penalties for the different kinds of violations. On January 2, 2018, the Department of Labor announced an increase in the maximum penalty amounts for violating OSHA safety regulations and standards.

The following are DOL Penalties, before and after the latest changes:

  • The maximum penalty allowed for “serious” and “other-than-serious” is now $12,934. Previously, it was $12,615.
  • The penalty for repeated or willful violation of child labor standards that result in the death or serious injury of a minor changed from a maximum of $111,616 to a maximum of $113,894.
  • The per violation penalty of the Employee Polygraph Protection Act rose from $20,111 to $20,521.
  • There was a very small increase in per willful violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act’s posting requirement, from $166 to $169.
  • The maximum fine for repeated or willful violations is $129,336, up from $126,749. In 2016, much more significant changes were made. For example, the willful or repeated violation maximum penalty rose from $70,000 to $124,709.

The maximum fines are not always imposed. Employers in small businesses typically get a size discount. Employers with a record of prior compliance with OSHA receive a reduction for their good history. Businesses that are cooperative during OSHA inspections also get credit, for acting in good faith. Maximum penalties are more likely imposed against a large employer when a fatality has a occurred or as a result of a history of OSHA safety violations.

–Guest Contributor

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