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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.

Posts Tagged ‘Accident’

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

Wednesday, 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

Thursday, 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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A Plumber Dies in a Trench Collapse in Flower Mound, Texas

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Flower Mound, Texas, Community Center (Photo: Labeled for Reuse)

Forty-five-year-old Christopher Corbet, a plumber, was killed in an on-the-job accident in Flower Mound, Texas, on December 14, 2017. He had dug a trench to go underneath a residence, and the trench collapsed. Fire crews and officers with the Flower Mound Police Department responded to the residence and attempted to rescue Corbet. They were unable to establish communication with him. Eventually, his body was recovered from beneath the home.

A ten-year study ending in 2009 that was conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that approximately 35 workers die in the U.S. every year as a result of excavation or trenching cave-ins. Experts say that workers don’t always recognize the danger of working around dirt. According to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), one cubic yard of dirt can weigh 3,000 pounds or more. In addition, trenches can collapse with no warning.

The following are some of the factors that affect the stability of soil at an excavation or trenching site:

  • Type of soil
  • Water content in soil
  • Proximity of site to previously backfilled excavations
  • Nearness of heavy machinery and tools
  • Vibrations caused by tools and heavy equipment

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires a protection system when trenches are 5 feet deep or more, with the exception of an excavation consisting completely of stable rock.

The following are tips for workers regarding trenches:

  • Never enter a trench that doesn’t have a protection system in place.
  • Never enter a trench until it has been inspected by someone qualified to determine whether it is safe to enter.
  • Exit a trench immediately if you see any evidence that there may be problems with the protective system. Contact a competent person to perform an inspection.
  • Never assume that you will have time to move and escape injury if a trench collapses.

Employers have a responsibility to workers, to ensure that proper trenching safety procedures are used on all jobs.

–Guest Contributor


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A Contract Worker is Struck and Killed by an 18-Wheeler on I-20 in Sweetwater, Texas

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Sweetwater, Texas, railroad overpass (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

A contract worker was struck and killed by an 18-wheeler on I-20 in Sweetwater, Texas, on Wednesday morning, December 6, 2017. The fatal crash occurred close to mile marker 248. Sixty-two-year-old Jesus Vicente Enriquez of San Angelo, Texas, was part of a construction crew surveying a site in which five crashes had occurred earlier in the day, all of which involved 18-wheelers, according to Sweetwater Fire Chief Grant Madden. Madden said the road has a slick spot that isn’t related to weather. The Department of Public Safety said Enriquez was standing in the median of I-20 when an 18-wheeler headed east jackknifed, slid into the median, and struck him. Enriquez worked for Reece Albert, Inc., which is based in San Angelo. In the previous crashes that day, one driver had suffered minor injuries.

Madden said that right around 7:30 a.m. or so, a string of accidents involving 18-wheelers began to happen, one after the other. Enriquez was working as a contractor for a paving company. He had been surveying the damage caused by a previous crash. When the fatal accident occurred, he was standing on the median looking at the diesel spill that was to be cleaned up. No one else was in that area when the big rig lost control and ran over him. Two other contract workers who witnessed the truck losing control quickly moved, to stay clear. Enriquez was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Sweetwater fire department investigated the scene to find strategies for preventing any further accidents from occurring.

–Guest Contributor


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3 Tower Workers from a Texas Company Die in an Equipment Collapse in Miami Gardens, Florida

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

English: BT Radio Tower

BT Radio Tower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

–Guest Contributor


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Investigation into Deadly Roadway Construction Incident in Amarillo, Texas, Continues

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

English: Afghan construction workers work on a...

English: Afghan construction workers work on a road construction project in Mahmood Rahqi, Afghanistan in 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tragedy occurred in a road construction work zone the morning of June 10, 2017. The 16-foot flatbed trailer that was attached to a pickup truck became detached, rolled at a fast pace through a construction site, and crashed into road crew members and paving equipment. Three of the workers died and two workers were injured. Not all details have emerged, because of the pending investigation. For instance, no comments have been made with regard to whether or not the truck driver was following state laws when he hitched the trailer. When asked if safety chains were attached, a spokesperson with the Amarillo Police Department wouldn’t comment about that.

It’s believed that either a pin broke or came loose, causing the trailer to become detached and lose control. The three workers who were killed when the trailer struck the paving equipment were 36-year-old Jorge Noe Catano, 59-year-old Ygnacio Rodriquez, and 63-year-old Julian Zamora. All were pronounced dead at the scene, which was I-40 eastbound east of Whitaker Road. The road construction injuries were suffered by 21-year-old Eddie Erinco and 59-year-old David Huddleston. All of the men were working for J. Lee Milligan, who works with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), doing road work.

Lee Milligan and TxDOT came up with new strategies to improve work site safety in highway construction zones. At the location where the fatal workplace accident occurred, an additional lane on the eastbound side of the highway has been closed. Additional signage was put in place to warn motorists of upcoming road work. In addition, speed limit advisor signs were added.

According to Sonja Gross, TxDOT Spokesperson, each project is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with the goal of providing the safest environment possible for workers and the traveling public.

–Guest Contributor


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36-year-old Man Dies in a Construction Site Trench Collapse in San Antonio, Texas

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

San Antonio is the largest city in South Texas.

San Antonio is the largest city in South Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On March 9, 2017, 36-year-old David Allen Williams was working at a construction site in San Antonio, Texas, in wet weather when he fell into a trench that collapsed. He was trapped in heavy clay soil, up to his neck. At about 4:30 pm, when rescue firefighters arrived on the scene, they found that co-workers were attempting to rescue Williams. The firefighters continued the attempt, but Williams died while efforts to help him were still underway. The tonnage of the soil that entrapped him was more than anyone could withstand, according to Chief Charles Hood of the San Antonio Fire Department. He also said the conditions for trying to dig someone out were some of the worst.

During the extended period of recovery, the trench walls had to be secured once again, to prevent any further collapse.

This tragic workplace fatality will be investigated by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This is the federal organization designed to hold employers responsible for the safety of their workers.

Trench collapses are well covered in OSHA safety guidelines because trenches are known to be potentially deadly. Construction sites virtually always involve some sort of trenching. There are a number of dangers associated with trenching, including:

  • If heavy machinery gets too close to the edge of a trench, the result can be a dangerous collapse;
  • Working too close to traffic can cause sides of trenching to be more unstable;
  • Electrical hazards are present overhead and underground.
  • Natural gas can also be a dangerous underground utility in a construction trench.
  • It is required the trenches be tested for toxic gases before workers enter, since that is another common threat to worker safety.
  • In wet weather conditions, when it is difficult to stabilize soil, workers are not supposed to work in trenches.

Enforcement of trenching and excavation operations has been increased by OSHA in recent years, due to the risks involved and the number of lives lost. It is of utmost importance that employers protect workers with correct trenching measures, since even one square yard of soil is more weight than a person may be able to survive.

–Guest Contributor

 


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A Shocking Fatal Construction Incident in China Kills 67 Workers

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Rebar Tying in Beijing

Rebar Tying in Beijing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A platform that was under construction in eastern China collapsed last week, killing at least 67 construction workers. The fatal workplace accident occurred in a power plant at the cooling tower. Five workers were injured, and more than 100 paramilitary police took part in efforts to rescue the workers. Officials made a statement to the effect that there needs to be an improvement to preventative measures and supervision, to prevent such a major catastrophe from occurring again. In the U.S., we have the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to do that.

Worker safety is supposed to be job number one for employers. When accidents happen, OSHA visits workplaces to determine whether sites are up to safety standards. There are OSHA safety guidelines for every type of work, including detailed instructions for building platforms. Weight limits are among the considerations, when it comes to structures workers stand on during construction.

According to reports, it is common for major accidents to occur at industrial workplaces in China. There has been growing outrage in that nation over lax standards that result in workplace fatalities. In August 2015 in Tianjin, China, more than 170 people were killed and another 800 injured as a result of enormous explosions and a fire at a chemical warehouse. Approximately 50 company workers and managers and governmental officials were jailed in connection to those blasts.

Criminal charges are not a typical outcome of workplace fatalities and injuries in the U.S. Instead, companies are penalized with fines. Workers in the U.S. can take responsibility for their own safety, and they are protected against retaliation for reporting safety breaches that could result in injury or death.

–Guest Contributor


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Fall Injury Attorney Texas – Worker’s Memorial Day 2016 Involves Controversy Among Rail Workers – Part 7

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Trump Tower in Chicago, under construction

Trump Tower in Chicago, under construction (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each year on April 28, Workers’ Memorial Day is observed in the U.S. It is a time to give recognition to workers who suffered or died as a result of exposure to workplace hazards.

Although Texas consistently has the most construction injuries and fatalities each year, the industry is dangerous throughout the nation. The following are national-level construction workplace accident statistics:

  • Among all of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, which are provided for every industry, fall protection standards are the ones violated most frequently.
  • Among all construction workplace injuries, 60% of them involve a worker in his or her first year of employment in construction.
  • Each year, 1 in 10 construction workers suffer at least one injury.
  • Of all lead poisoning incidents in the U.S. 15% of them involve construction workers.
  • If a construction worker is in the industry for 45 years, there is a 1-in-200 chance that he or she will die in a workplace accident.

OSHA has done a lot to reduce the number of workplace fatalities that occur in the U.S. In 1970, the year the Occupational Safety and Health Act was enacted by Congress, approximately 38 workers died each day. That number was reduced to 13 per day by 2011. Workplace fatalities have declined by more than 65% since the inception of OSHA.

Not only does compliance with OSHA and taking other safety measures save lives, it also saves money for businesses. Through the years, OSHA has added appropriate penalties against employers who fail to make employee safety a priority. Sometimes those penalties are increased. Protecting workers from potentially fatal hazards should be the top priority for every employer.

See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6 of this seven-part series.

–Guest Contributor


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A Richmond, Texas, Co. is Fined $86,240 for Alleged Trenching Hazards

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

English: Excavations at the cave of Santa Ana ...

English: Excavations at the cave of Santa Ana (Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain) Español: Excavaciones en la Cueva de Santa Ana (Cáceres, Extremadura, España) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted an inspection on August 19, 2015, of Hurtado Construction Co. at a Katy, Texas, construction site as part of the agency’s National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation. On January 22, 2016, citations were issued to Hurtado Construction, as a result of OSHA’s findings. The company has been cited one alleged serious and four alleged repeat violations, with proposed penalties amounting to $86,240.

OSHA’s area director in the Houston North office, Joann Figueroa, said that it is unconscionable to repeatedly expose workers to trenching hazards without providing adequate protections because in mere seconds, a trench can cave in and take a life.

The following are details about the alleged serious violation that OSHA cited Hurtado Construction for:

According to OSHA, employees were working in excavations in which water was accumulating or water had accumulated and adequate precautions had not been taken to protect workers against the hazards posed by the accumulation of water. More specifically, on or about August 19, 2015, on the north side of the Katy, Texas, site, employees were allegedly exposed to cave-in hazards while working in an excavation in which there was an accumulation of water, and adequate safety measures were not taken to protect workers against the dangers posed by water accumulation. The proposed penalty for the alleged violation is: $5,390.

See this continuing series to learn more about the alleged violations for which OSHA has cited Hurtado Construction Co. in Richmond, Texas.

–Guest Contributor


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