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.
Posted on October 18th, 2017
Southeast of San Antonio and west of Poth, Texas, a construction worker was killed earlier this month. According to the employer, 66-year-old Salvador Guillen of New Braunfels was struck and killed in a construction accident involving heavy equipment. Guillen had been involved in the repaving work on 541 near FM 2505 when the fatal workplace accident occurred. The employer in this case is a contract company out of New Braunfels, the Dean Word Company. A company spokesperson expressed sorrow over the tragic incident and said Guillen had worked for the company from 1990 to 2008 and came out of retirement to rejoin the workforce in March 2017.
Other agencies at the scene included the Texas Department of Public Safety. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) will be conducting an investigation of the scene. If safety violations are allegedly discovered, the employer will be subject to fines and penalties.
Back in 20006, OSHA reportedly issued a citation to the Dean Word Company for alleged violations related to accident prevention signs and tags. In 2009, OSHA issued a penalty to the employer for alleged violation of standard excavation requirements.
OSHA provides safety procedures for all industries. The purpose is to help to ensure that employers provide workers with a safe workplace environment. Construction is one of the most dangerous industries. There are many common dangers at construction work sites, and working near heavy equipment is among them. When safety measures aren’t taken, it puts lives at risk. It remains to be seen whether negligence was involved in this tragic workplace fatality.
Tags: construction accident,Construction worker,Occupational Safety and Health Administration,Texas,United States Department of Labor
Posted on October 11th, 2017
On Wednesday, September 27, 2017, a fatal on-the-job accident occurred in Miami Gardens, Florida. Three men working for Tower King II out of Cedar Hill, Texas, were working on a television transmission tower. The piece of equipment they were on collapsed as they were at the top of the 1,000-foot tower. All three men fell to their deaths.
The gin pole is an apparatus that is used when a crane can’t reach high enough for a job that needs to be done. A gin pole was attached to the tower these men were on. According to authorities, the apparatus somehow separated from the tower, causing the three workers to fall. One of the deceased is the son of the man who owns Tower King II.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is conducting an investigation, which is standard after a fatal workplace accident. When workers are injured or die, companies involved in the workplace setting can potentially be held responsible. Employers have a duty to ensure the safety of workers. OSHA provides detailed safety standards for a myriad of potentially risky occupational hazards, and falls are the subject of numerous safety guidelines.
OSHA periodically has campaigns to improve safety in various situations. They have a Fall Prevention Campaign in which statistics are shared. In 2015, there were 350 fatal construction falls, all of which are considered to have been preventable. The 350 deaths were part of a total of 937 construction fatalities that year. Safety guidelines in the OSHA Fall Prevention Campaign include: Plan ahead to get the jobs done correctly; provide the correct equipment; and train everyone to use equipment safely.
Tags: Accident,Occupational Safety and Health Administration,OSHA,Texas
Posted on October 5th, 2017
On the morning of Wednesday, August 9, 2017, in Southeast Austin, a construction worker was crushed when a concrete slab fell on him. Emergency crews went to the scene. Firefighters used drills, sledgehammers, and other tools to try to free the man from underneath the 30,000- to 40,000-pound concrete slab. They finally reached the worker, but he was already deceased and was pronounced dead at 10:01 am.
According to Division Chief Palmer Buck of the Austin Fire Department, the preformed concrete panel was going to be used for a parking garage that was being built. It wasn’t known at the time the fatal workplace accident occurred how the worker became trapped underneath the concrete slab.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted an investigation, as it does anytime there is an on-the-job fatality. Conclusions and news of any proposed penalties for alleged safety violations are usually published several months after an OSHA inspection.
According to OSHA statistics, every year, more than 4,500 workers die in the workplace. The following are a few of many details from the 2015 OSHA report on fatal occupational injuries by industry, event, or exposure:
- The total number of workplace fatalities in the U.S. in 2015 was 4,836.
- The total number of fatalities in the construction industry was 937.
- In the construction of buildings, 175 workers died.
- Total number of roofing contractors that died was 87.
- A total of 167 building equipment contractors suffered fatal on-the-job injuries.
- In the manufacturing industry, 353 workers died.
- In the utilities industry, 221 people were fatally injured.
Employers have a duty to keep workers safe on the job. OSHA provides detailed safety guidelines on countless workplace activities. Construction is one of the most hazardous industries to work in.
Tags: Austin,Concrete slab,Construction,construction accident,Construction worker,fatal workplace accident,Texas
Posted on September 27th, 2017
Jose de Jesus Diaz-Venezuela, age 38, died in a tragic construction accident near Georgetown, Texas, on Saturday evening, September 2, 2017. Diaz-Venezuela was installing gas lines when he was struck by a grader being driven by another worker. The grader is heavy equipment used to flatten surfaces. The grader struck Diaz-Venezuela and caused bleeding around his head, but it didn’t run over him. According to Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody, he was probably crouching down when he was struck. Immediately following the accident, Diaz-Venezuela was conscious. An ambulance was called and an EMS crew arrived, but he died at the scene at about 5:19 p.m.
The gas lines were being installed by a pipeline construction firm based out of Giddings, Texas. The senior safety coordinator at the company announced that the investigation was in its preliminary stages, appropriate authorities had been notified, and they will fully cooperate with the investigation.
As with all fatal workplace accidents, an investigation will be done by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The agency will try to determine whether negligence in the area of construction safety was a factor in the workplace fatality.
The construction site where the accident occurred is located approximately a mile off of West Texas 29, not far from DB Wood Road.
Chody said in an interview about the deadly incident that something obviously didn’t go right, but it is believed by sheriff’s deputies to be an accident.
Workers are entitled to work in a safe environment, and employers have a duty to provide them.
Tags: Construction,construction accident,Diaz-Venezuela,Employment,United States Department of Labor
Posted on September 21st, 2017
Watchdogs protecting the interests of workers, including undocumented immigrant workers, have been expressing concern about upcoming construction to rebuild after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and other states. Abuses have been discovered following similar natural disasters. Laborers have often been victims of wage theft; and they have also suffered from serious illnesses that resulted from lack of proper training and supervision, when working in potentially toxic environments. Emergency workers especially may be subject to exploitation, in efforts to speed up project completion and increase profits.
At any given time, according to a recent report from the Workers Defense Project based in Austin, Texas, 40% of construction workers in Houston do not have health insurance, sick leave, paid time off, or life insurance. The group also claims that one construction worker in Texas dies every three days, due to unsafe working conditions.
Director of the Better Builder Program at Workers Defense Project Bo Delp points out that every state in the U.S. requires a form of workers compensation coverage except Texas. He says that he fears the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey will result in worker exploitation on an unprecedented scale. So much construction is going on that exploitation can be expected to be rampant, between cleaning out many thousands of flooded homes and businesses as well as rebuilding, repairing, and remodeling.
Among the groups actively working to ensure safer conditions and better wages for workers during Harvey cleanup is the Houston Business Liaison. Sasha Legette is with the group and says Mayor Sylvester Turner has provided assurances that efforts are being made to ensure worker safety, in the rush to rebuild.
Employers have a responsibility to provide workers with safe work environments. When employers are found to be noncompliant with safety standards, they can be fined and penalized by federal agencies.