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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 ‘Amtrak’

After 2 Workers Die, Company is Fined $1,475,813 and a Man is Charged with Manslaughter – Part 4

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

English: The Frances Perkins Building of the U...

English: The Frances Perkins Building of the U.S. Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposed penalties of almost $1.5 million against Atlantic Drain Service Company, Inc., in Boston, MA, following an inspection instigated by two workplace fatalities. In addition, the owner faces two manslaughter charges as well as other criminal charges in connection with the workers’ deaths and safety issues on the job.

News sources revealed more details about the deaths of workers Robert Higgins and Kelvin Mattocks. As they were working in a trench that was approximately 12 feet deep, the trench collapsed. The men were both trapped by soil up to their waists. Tragically, the collapse of the trench caused an adjacent supply line to a fire hydrant to break. The trench was quickly filled with water from the broken water pipe, and the men were trapped underwater within seconds. Coworkers tried desperately to save the men, but they both drowned.

The man who oversaw the work at Atlantic Drain on the day the workplace fatalities occurred, the same man criminally charged, allegedly failed to:

  • Install a trench support system to protect workers in a 12-foot trench from a trench collapse;
  • Prevent the adjacent fire hydrant line from breaking, by virtue of failing to prevent a trench collapse;
  • Remove workers from the dangerous trench conditions;
  • Provide the workers with training that would equip them to identify and address dangers associated with excavation work and trenching;
  • At all times provide a ladder so that workers could exit the trench;
  • Support structures near the trench that posed overhead dangers; and
  • Provide workers with eye protection and hard hats.

Atlantic Drain was cited for 18 willful, serious, repeat, and other-than-serious violations of safety standards for the workplace. In 2007 and 2012, OSHA alleges to have cited the company for similar hazards related to trenching worksites.

See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this continuing series.

–Guest Contributor

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Two San Marcos, Texas, Employers are Cited for Alleged Heat and Noise Workplace Hazards – Part 3

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

San Marcos, Texas

San Marcos, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued citations against two companies in San Marcos, Texas, with a combined proposed penalty of $43,600. Corvac Composites LLC, an auto parts maker, faces proposed penalties amounting to $31,000. Priority Personnel Inc., a staffing company, faces proposed penalties amounting to $12,600.

The following are more details about the OSHA investigation alleging that Corvac Composites has committed OSHA violations:

A written hazard communication program was allegedly not developed or implemented by the employer on July 16, 2015, according to an inspection of the San Marcos, Texas, site on Clovis Barker Road. No chemical inventory of chemicals was available nor were there safety data sheets about chemicals used on the job. Employees were not trained regarding specific hazards of the chemicals. The proposed penalty for this alleged serious violation is $4,000.

A serious violation OSHA says Corvac Composites allegedly committed and that carries a proposed penalty of $7,000 involves a failure to provide a place to work which was free from known hazards that are causing or likely to cause serious physical harm or death to employees working in the facility’s production area when exposed to excessive heat. More specifically, employees working in the production portion of the facility were exposed to excessive heat when engaging in tasks such as using a grinder to recycle composite material and operating the router vac, robots, and extruder.

Learn more about these alleged OSHA violations in Part 1 and Part 2 of this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

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An 18-Wheeler Driver is Injured Escaping a Train Collision in Houston, TX

Friday, August 14th, 2015

US truck - California 2007

US truck – California 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Transportation is a dangerous industry, and 18-wheeler drivers face many potential perils. As an example of what can occur, a truck driver in Houston, Texas, was traveling south on SH 19 last week when he attempted to turn right onto CR 3450. In the process, the 18-wheeler got stuck in a culvert. The truck ended up being stopped on a railroad crossing. A northbound train with the Union Pacific Railroad struck the truck. The driver of the truck did escape the truck before the train collision, but he was injured when he jumped out. The commercial truck driver was transported to the Houston County Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.

Among the initiatives to make driving safer for everyone is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Share the Road Safely Program. This program provides drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) with an opportunity to set the example for other motorists on how to safely share our roads.

Many people are intimidated by 18-wheelers, simply because of their size. The perception that a lot of roadway congestion is caused by crashes involving big rigs also adds to negative public opinion regarding the trucking industry. Of course, in the recent Houston event, railway activities were disrupted by an 18-wheeler.

Campaigns for safely sharing the road are well justified. The FMCSA acts on the belief that there will be fewer injuries and roadway fatalities in crashes with 18-wheelers or buses when more people know how to share the road safely.

Learn safety tips for truck and bus drivers in this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

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Employee is Heavily Compensated for a Major Rail’s Alleged Retaliation Tactic

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

English: The 12 elements of the "Mooren M...

English: The 12 elements of the “Mooren Model,” a systematic approach to reducing occupation-related road injuries and fatalities. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has informed the second largest freight railroad in North America, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC, that they must pay a sacked train conductor $536,063 and reinstate him in his position. The money covers damages, attorney’s fees, and back pay. Federal investigators found that the man was disciplined and retaliated against for reporting a knee injury. He was ultimately fired, and his reputation was damaged.

It is illegal to discipline employees for reporting work injuries. OSHA is determined that employers who retaliate will face negative repercussions.

Employers that are safety-minded encourage their workers to not only report injuries but also to report unsafe conditions and near misses that could potentially cause injury. Many employers actually offer rewards in the way of tokens and recognition for workers who report safety issues, rather than rewarding workers for time worked without an incident.

Incentive programs for days without injuries are not forbidden by OSHA, but there can be a presumption than only rewarding those without injury can pressure workers not to report an incident. More effective incentives focus on rewarding proactive safety measures.

The practice of disciplining injured employees is just what OSHA aims to discourage.  When injuries aren’t reported, OSHA is unable to determine the true picture of a company’s work environment.

Whistleblower protection is provided through OSHA. Workers have a right to raise questions about safety and to make complaints on the job with regard to safety conditions, and OSHA strives to protect that right.

–Guest Contributor

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