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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 ‘Associated Press’

An On-Duty Texas Police Officer is Struck by an Alleged Drunk Driver

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

(Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On July 7, 2017, in Fort Worth, Texas, Officer Matt Lesell was on the side of a Texas highway, having pulled over a vehicle at about 3 a.m. As he was walking up to the car, his dash cam video shows that a car crashed into him and the other vehicle. Lesell survived the crash. He can be seen walking away from the crash scene, though hobbled. The officer is hoping to use his experience as a way to highlight the hazards of drunk driving.

Lesell pointed out that Texas has a law called “Slow Down and Move Over.” Motorists are required by law to slow down when they are going to drive past transportation workers and police, fire, and emergency vehicles on the side of the road. This information is found on the website of the Texas Department of Transportation.

Employers have a duty to ensure that workers have a safe workplace environment. Texas laws obviously attempt to make things safer for police officers and those in emergency services. Another related law is that fines in construction zones are doubled, when drivers violate the speed limit or other laws.

A similar incident happened to Houston, Texas, police officers in July. They were investigating a possible incident involving driving while intoxicated (DWI). Another vehicle came along as they were investigating, and the car veered toward them. Firefighters screamed out warnings to the police officers. Both of the police officers ultimately fell over the ledge of the freeway, which was about a 20-foot drop. The officers landed in a grass area; neither had broken bones from falling.

All motorists have a responsibility to keep others safe in roadway work places. Police officers are often put at risk, since their workplace is often the side of a road.

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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A Crane Falls, Killing a Contract Worker for a Port Arthur, Texas, Refinery

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

English: A tracked construction crane in Waita...

English: A tracked construction crane in Waitakere City, New Zealand, on a construction site for the railway line improvements. This appeared to be for the new bridge over the nearby creek. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On July 13, 2017, a contract worker was struck by a crane that fell over on him as he was working for Motiva Enterprises, a Port Arthur, Texas, refinery. He died from his injuries. The worker was employed with Newtron Beaumont, an electrical and instrumentation contractor located in Beaumont, Texas.

Employers have a duty to ensure that employees and contractors have a safe work environment. Specific safety guidelines for all industries are provided by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Following fatal workplace accidents, it is standard procedure for OSHA to conduct a safety inspection and an investigation into the deadly incident that occurred. As applicable, the company will usually be cited for specific safety violations and fined for the amounts pre-determined by federal guidelines.

Construction crane accidents have become a major focal point in some areas where fatal crane incidents have been alarmingly frequent. According to the 2017 Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index, the three cities in the U.S. with the most cranes in operation are Seattle, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Construction booms are generally positive economic signals. At the same time, there needs to be increased focus on safety. With more cranes actively working at construction sites, there is also greater potential for crane-related accidents.

Although there is currently a push for deregulation from the Trump administration, OSHA continues with updates in safety guidelines related to crane safety. New criteria will be identified that employers need to follow for the purpose of ensuring that crane operators are fully qualified to safely operate cranes on construction job sites.

A loss prevention safety expert, Ray Master, said that crane accidents are at the top of the list of potentially catastrophic incidents at construction sites.

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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After 2 Workers Die, Company is Fined Almost $1.5 million and a Businessman is Charged with Manslaughter

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

53°04′37.27″N 8°48′52.18″E / ...

53°04′37.27″N 8°48′52.18″E / °S °W / ; latd>90 (dms format) in latd latm lats longm longs thumb|The Zigzag trench around Bremen city Bremen City in Germany like many others is surrounded by a water trench. This trench is almost the same is size as the same original hundreds of years a go. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) visits the sites of fatal workplace accidents and issues citations and proposed penalties. Rarely do the penalties add up to a million dollars or more. In regard to the death of two workers who were killed in a trench collapse in Boston, Massachusetts, however, the safety fines add up to almost $1.5 million. 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.

On October 21, 2016, 47-year-old Robert Higgins and 53-year-old Kelvin Mattocks were working in a 12-foot-deep trench. They were installing new service to a house that was being remodeled. The trench flooded within seconds after the supply line to an unsupported fire hydrant broke. Mattocks and Higgins were first exposed to the flood and then the collapse of the trench.

The man who was overseeing the work on that tragic day is the one who has been charged with manslaughter.

The New England regional administrator for OSHA, Galen Blanton, said the employer in this case had previously been cited for the same hazardous conditions that existed when the men were killed. Blanton said the employer was aware that safeguards were necessary to protect workers, but the responsibility was blatantly ignored.

The trench in which the workers died was supposed to be supported by sloped walls, shoring, or a trench box. Allegedly, none of the safety steps were taken; and there are now 40 pages of OSHA citations detailing the many alleged safety violations that were found.

Learn more about the citations in this case, all of which employers in Texas are responsible to become familiar with, in order to prevent similar hazardous situations.

–Guest Contributor

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1 Worker Dies and Another is Critically Injured in an Electrical Accident

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Landscape of the skyline of Lubbock, Texas tak...

Landscape of the skyline of Lubbock, Texas taken from the shoulder of Interstate 27. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A fatal workplace accident occurred on Saturday, January 21, 2017, in Lubbock, Texas. At a construction site for a new building, two men were working together when it is believed they made contact with energized lines while drilling into an electrical box. A fire erupted and was quickly ignited. Both construction workers at the scene were burned and had possibly been shocked. They were transported to a nearby hospital, where one of the men died early the next day. The other injured worker is still in critical condition.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will conduct a complete investigation of the employers involved in this fatal workplace incident. It will be determined whether required safety practices were used. Such OSHA rules are designed for the purpose of holding employers accountable when they fail in their fundamental duty to provide workers with a safe workplace environment.

Electrical accidents are not uncommon on construction sites or in other work venues. “Electrical Wiring Methods” was the ninth most frequent type of OSHA violation for fiscal year 2016. There were 1,940 OSHA safety violations in this category. In 2015, there were 464 more electrical workplace violations and this category was the eighth most frequently violated. This was the largest violation decrease in a particular category, which is a very good thing. Obviously, electrical hazards are extremely dangerous.

“General Electrical Requirements” was the category that was tenth most frequently cited by OSHA in 2016, with 1,704 violations issued. This category focuses on proper use and installation of electrical equipment and conductors.

If employers in this tragic workplace accident are found by OSHA to have failed in electrical safety procedures, they will face penalties.

–Guest Contributor


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A Female Construction Worker is San Antonio Crushed by a Backhoe

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017



A 19-year-old woman was killed at a construction site in San Antonio, Texas, when the bucket of a backhoe was dropped on top of her. The shocking workplace fatality occurred on the morning of Monday, January 23, 2017. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, and the foreman who was driving the backhoe and said he didn’t see the woman was hospitalized, most likely for shock, according to Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Roger Pedraza.

The deceased was a construction worker at the construction site, which is on Potranco Road in the 13700 block. Police were called at about 10:30 am and reported that the woman had been crushed to death by the backhoe.

At least two dozen members of the accident victims’ family went to the site. According to one of the victim’s siblings, her sister had been injured at the construction site the previous week. Allegedly, the same backhoe operator knocked her in the leg with the machine, giving her a bruise about the size of a grapefruit. The sibling also claimed that her sister had complained about lack of adherence to safety guidelines on the worksite.

A construction worker at the scene who has been at the site for about a month alleged that the same foreman involved in this deadly accident was frequently careless on the job, resulting in a lot of broken pipes.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure a safe workplace environment. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be conducting an investigation, prompted by this tragedy. If the employer is found to be in violation of safety guidelines, the company will be cited and will face proposed penalties. OSHA penalties have just been increased for the first time in a quarter century. The new amounts have the potential to seriously impact small businesses, which will hopefully serve to motivate employers to improve worker safety procedures. This tragic construction fatality in San Antonio was allegedly a senseless, preventable act.

–Guest Contributor

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With OSHA Changes, Employers have Additional Motivation to Keep Workers Safe

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

The seal of the United States Department of Labor

The seal of the United States Department of Labor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the first time in a quarter of a century, maximum penalties for workplace safety violations have been increased by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Small business owners need to take more care than ever to follow safety regulations, since the maximum penalty for a serious violation jumped from $7,000 to $12,471. The maximum penalty for a repeat or willful violation dramatically shot up from $70,000 to $124,709. These laws were mandated by Congress in the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act, making them likely to remain intact with the incoming administration.

Creating a culture of safety within the workplace is the most effective way to avoid OSHA inspections and resulting financial penalties. It has perhaps never been so crucial for small business owners to avoid OSHA penalties; the following information can be helpful:

  • OSHA representatives are not required to give any type of advance warning about an investigation. A company may get a visit simply because the industry it’s in has a high-hazard classification.
  • Many times, complaints are investigated over the phone. By immediately and fully handling such matters, a follow-up on-site inspection can usually be avoided.
  • When OSHA investigators arrive on site, they conduct an open investigation with a goal for complete transparency. In fact, employers and chosen representatives are free to join compliance officers on their walk-through tours of the workplace. When hazards are resolved at the time discovered, it demonstrates good faith. Inspections can take place over a course of hours, days, or weeks. The size of the workplace and the nature of the inspection both determine how long the process takes.
  • Once the walk-around during an inspection is finished, OSHA compliance officers are required to meet with employers and employer representatives to discuss all findings. OSHA has six months from the time an alleged violation occurs to impose financial penalties and issue citations.

Workers have a right to a safe workplace. Any extra effort given to ensure worker safety is a very good thing, no matter the motivation.

–Guest Contributor


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OSHA Cites a Navasota, Texas, Company for Hearing Hazards & More

Thursday, January 5th, 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)

(See Part 1 of this 2-part series.)

A follow-up inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was initiated on August 24, 2016, resulting in eight alleged serious violations and two alleged repeat violations against ST Feed Mill in Navasota, Texas. Total proposed penalties amount to $91,911.

One of the alleged serious violations committed by ST Feed Mill is failing to administer an effective, ongoing hearing conservation program. Employers are not to be exposed to noise exposures that equal or exceed an 8-hour time-weighted average sound level of 85 decibels measured on the A scale or equivalently a dose of 50%. More specifically, a pellet mill operator was allegedly exposed to continuous noise levels at 78.6% of the permissible daily dose exposure or an equivalent sound level of approximately 88.2 dBA during the 400-minute sampling period on 8-25-16. Included in the exposure calculations is a zero increment for the 80 minutes not sampled. The proposed penalty for this alleged serious violation is: $9,603.

Another alleged serious violation was that one or more methods of machine guarding was not provided to protect the operator and other workers in the machine area from hazards such as those created by rotating parts, flying chips and sparks, ingoing nip points, and point of operation. More specifically, on or about August 24, 2016, employees in the bagging area were exposed to struck-by hazards when operating a robot that was stacking animal feed bags on pellets without barrier guarding surrounding the entire operating envelope of the robotic arm. The proposed penalty for this alleged serious violation is: $6,859.

–Guest Contributor

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A Navasota, Texas, Company faces $91,911 in Proposed OSHA Penalties

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

English: Feed Mill in Canton PA

English: Feed Mill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A follow-up inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was initiated on August 24, 2016, resulting in eight alleged serious violations and two alleged repeat violations against ST Feed Mill in Navasota, Texas. The company does business as Thomas Moore Feed. According to the OSHA area director for the Houston North office, Joann Figueroa, the type of negligence that was allegedly discovered can lead to serious injuries or workplace fatalities. She said that workers have been exposed to such serious hazards as combustible grain dust and unguarded machinery. Total proposed penalties amount to $91,911.

Details about some of the alleged serious OSHA violations follow:

OSHA investigators allege that workers were exposed to fire hazards, deflagration, and dust explosion caused by equipment used to process animal feed. Specifically, it is alleged that workers outside the commodity barn were exposed to fire hazards and deflagration from the explosion vents of the dust collector because protection from the fireball path was not provided. Also outside the commodity barn, workers were exposed to the same hazards when the cyclone of the hammer mill was not protected from explosion hazards. The total proposed penalty for this alleged serious violation is: $9,603.

Employees accessing a platform for cleaning and adjustments were allegedly exposed to a fall hazard greater than 4 feet near the bird seed bagging platform because there was no railing or an equivalent surrounding the entire side of the platform. The total proposed penalty for this alleged serious violation is: $6,859.

–Guest Contributor

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A Brownfield, Texas, Employer Faces $83K in Proposed OSHA Penalties

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

English: Logo for the United States Occupation...

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

CPE Feeds Inc. in Brownfield, Texas, was recently issued $83,059 in proposed penalties by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As part of the Regional Emphasis Program for Grain Handling Facilities, an inspection was done of the Brownfield facilities in June 2016. According to the Lubbock area OSHA director, Elizabeth Linda Routh, CPE Feeds has an obligation to protect workers from electrocution, amputation, and grain-handling dangers. A total of 22 alleged violations were identified.

Among the alleged OSHA safety violations committed by CPE Feeds were the following:

  • No handrails on stairwells
  • Lack of guarding on platforms and runways
  • Exposed wires energized with electricity
  • Lack of machine guarding
  • Failing to provide hearing protection
  • Failing to properly store welding cylinders
  • Failure to keep fire extinguishers in designated locations
  • Utilizing flexible cords as fixed wiring

The following are details about alleged serious violations committed by CPE Feeds:

Service rooms, storerooms, passageways, and other places of employment were not kept in orderly, clean, or sanitary condition. OSHA investigators specifically allege that employees were walking in and/or working in production areas that were not kept clean, which exposed them to fire and health hazards. The proposed penalty for this alleged serious violation is: $2,850.

Platforms and/or open-sided floors four feet or more above an adjacent floor or ground level were not guarded with railings or toe boards where there was moving machinery. Employees engaged in unclogging the pipes and cotton pit were exposed to unprotected falls of heights greater than 4 feet. The proposed penalty for this alleged serious violation is: $3,563

–Guest Contributor

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A Mineral Wells, Texas, Manufacturer Faces $224,477 in OSHA Penalties

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, TX

Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, TX (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On May 3, 2016, an investigation was opened on PECOFacet in Mineral Wells, Texas, by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The inspection began because of an April 26, 2016, amputation work injury, in which a worker in training lost a finger after part of a metal plate being fabricated fell on it. Then on May 6, an employee suffered serious injuries when a 1,300-pound metal product fell on his feet. OSHA investigators allege that workers have been operating machinery without emergency stop switches or point of operation and safety guards. The total in proposed penalties is $224,477 for 21 alleged serious OSHA safety violations.

Jack Rector, Fort Worth Area OSHA Director, said that the facility had an astounding number of alleged safety violations and is responsible to protect workers from life-altering injuries such as those that occurred in May. He further said that at a large manufacturing facility such as the one at PECOFacet no worker should suffer an amputation injury or be struck by a product.

The many alleged safety violations the Mineral Wells TX manufacturing company has been cited for include allowing the use of non-compliant crane equipment and failure to:

  • Develop or implement lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Install guards on horizontal belts and shafts.
  • Properly address electrical hazards.
  • Mark emergency exits.
  • Ensure that safety latches are on equipment during operation.
  • Ensure that guard rails are on elevated surfaces.
  • Maintain ladders and ensure they meet specification requirements.

As a further example, specifically, on or about May 11, 2016, OSHA alleges that the employer failed to ensure hooks were equipped with safety latches, which exposed workers to struck-by hazards or dropping loads. The proposed penalty for this alleged serious violation alone is: $12,471.

–Guest Contributor

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