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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’

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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Canyon, Texas, Park Faces $42,000 in OSHA Penalties Following a Fatal Pyrotechnics Explosion

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Palo Duro Canyon, Texas, USA

Palo Duro Canyon, Texas, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 21-year-old woman working at Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Canyon, Texas, was killed in summer of 2015 when pyrotechnics exploded. Following the fatal work accident, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted an inspection and has just released findings and proposed penalties and citations for six alleged serious safety violations. OSHA area director in Lubbock, Elizabeth Linda Routh, said the deceased had only three months of experience and lost her life because she was not provided with proper training or needed protective equipment that should be provided to workers handling pyrotechnics. She basically alleges that Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation failed in the duty to provide employees with a safe work environment.

The first alleged serious violation is that blasting agents or explosives were allegedly handled, stored, and/or transported when such handling, storage, or transporting of blasting agents or explosives constituted an undue hazard to life. More specifically, on July 31, 2015, at Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Canyon, Texas, workers handled explosives in a manner that amounted to a hazard to life. The proposed penalty for this alleged safety violation is: $7,000.

The second alleged serious violation is that spark-producing devices, open flames, matches, smoking, and firearms were permitted inside of or within 50 feet of magazines. More specifically, on July 31, 2015, at Palo Duro State Park, employer Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation allegedly permitted spark producing devices within 50 feet of a magazine, which exposed employees to explosion and fire hazards. The proposed penalty for this alleged OSHA safety violation is: $7,000.

See this continuing series to learn more about the alleged serious violations for which OSHA has cited Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation Inc. in Canyon, Texas.

–Guest Contributor


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Help for Work Accident Injury – After Worker Suffers a Serious Fall, a Hurst, TX, Flooring Company Faces $66,990 in Proposed Penalties – Part 11

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

English: A modern skylight as a small cuppola ...

English: A modern skylight as a small cuppola mounted on a roof Polski: Współczesny świetlik osadzony na dachu w kopułce (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An inspection of a flooring company in Hurst, Texas, by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was instigated after a worker fell from a balcony at a Fort Worth construction site and required hospitalization for care of his injuries. Subfloor Systems Inc. was issued citations for an alleged serious violation and an alleged willful violation, and the total proposed penalty is $66,990. Acting area director for OSHA in Fort Worth, Josh Bernstein, said the employer failed to provide training or fall protection and put workers in a hazardous situation, exposing them to preventable fall injuries.

The following are more recommendations arrived at after review of numerous case studies of falls through roof openings such as skylights done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):

  • Purchasers or manufacturers of skylights should be required to affix conspicuous decals to every skylight with a warning against stepping or sitting on them.
  • Before workers are required to work near skylights or other roof openings, they must be adequately trained to recognize the serious hazard of falls through roof openings, even from heights that seem to be low.
  • Workers must be trained to understand the dangers of stepping or sitting on skylights.
  • Manufacturers should modify skylight design so that they are strengthened sufficiently to support the weight of a roof worker who may fall, sit, or step on them. If this change creates an adverse effect on smoke-venting capacity of the structure, protective grillwork over the skylight should be considered.

See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, and Part 10 of this 11-part series to learn more about fall hazards and OSHA citations issued to a Hurst, Texas, company this month.

–Guest Contributor


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After Worker Suffers a Serious Fall, a Hurst, TX, Flooring Company Faces $66,990 in Proposed Penalties

Monday, January 25th, 2016

balcony

balcony (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An inspection of a flooring company in Hurst, Texas, by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was instigated after a worker fell from a balcony at a Fort Worth construction site and required hospitalization for care of his injuries. Subfloor Systems Inc. was issued citations for an alleged serious OSHA violation and an alleged willful violation, and the total proposed penalty is $66,990. Acting area director for OSHA in Fort Worth, Josh Bernstein, said the employer failed to provide training or fall protection and put workers in a hazardous situation, exposing them to preventable fall injuries.

The following is information about the alleged serious violation:

The employer allegedly failed to provide a training program to each worker potentially exposed to fall hazards, in order to enable those employees to recognize the dangers of falling and the procedures to follow in order to minimize hazards. More specifically, on or about July 22, 2015, workers performing concrete activities were not trained in a language that each worker could comprehend. The workers were not provided needed information to give them a proficiency in recognizing and avoiding fall hazards or to equip them to understand the correct procedures for minimizing those hazards. The proposed penalty for this alleged violation is: $5,390.

A serious violation is one which exists in the workplace when a workplace hazard could cause an illness or accident that would most likely result in serious physical harm or death, unless the employer could not have known about or did not know about the violation.

See this ongoing series to learn about the one alleged willful violation that the Hurst, Texas, company was cited for by OSHA.

–Guest Contributor


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A Sherman, Texas, Company Faces $162,000 in Proposed OSHA Penalties – Part 3

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

English: Logo for the United States Occupation...

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

A complaint regarding alleged safety hazards at a Dollar General in Sherman, Texas, led to a July 14 inspection by the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Citations were recently issued for one serious violation, two repeat violations, and two willful violations. OSHA’s acting director in Fort Worth, Texas, Josh Bernstein, alleges that Dollar General stores nationwide have repeatedly exposed workers to unnecessary hazards by failing to deal appropriately with overstocking issues. The employer has a responsibility, Berstein said, to identify and fix these hazards.

Repeated violations carry the highest penalties. If an agency has been cited previously for the same or a similar condition or if OSHA’s region-wide inspection history for a company includes previous OSHA notices within the past five years and for other circumstances, a company can be issued an OSHA citation for a repeated violation.

An alleged repeated violation for which OSHA has issued a citation carrying a $22,000 penalty to the Sherman company is failing to keep service rooms, passageways, storerooms, and places of employment orderly, clean, and in a sanitary condition.

Read more about the OSHA violations alleged against Dollar General in Sherman, Texas, in Part 1 and Part 2 of this ongoing series. In the coming segments, learn about the final alleged repeat violation in the OSHA notice.

–Guest Contributor


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