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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 ‘Boston’

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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A McAllen TX Company Faces $58,000 in Proposed OSHA Fines – Part 2

Monday, March 28th, 2016

English: South Texas College Quad Pecan Campus

English: South Texas College Quad Pecan Campus in McAllen TX (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A report of an ammonia release at Lineage Logistics LLC in McAllen, Texas, instigated an inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in October of 2015. In a news release dated March 15, 2016, the findings of that inspection reveal that Lineage Logistics has been cited for nine alleged serious violations. The proposed penalties associated with the alleged violations total $58,000. Travis Clark, the OSHA Area Director in the Corpus Christi office, said that hazardous chemicals can be released and surrounding communities endangered if employers fail to comply with minimum process safety management (PSM) requirements.

The following is information about alleged serious safety violations Lineage Logistics has been cited for by OSHA:

The employer allegedly failed to provide a process hazard analysis (PHA) that was appropriate to the complexity of the process. More specifically, OSHA says that the employer’s PHA was incomplete/inadequate in that it failed to address or identify the need for a manual purge in the event that the mechanical auto-purge instrument failed to operate, which would expose workers to anhydrous ammonia. The proposed penalty for the alleged serious violation is: $7,000.

About anhydrous ammonia–not found in the OSHA communication:

  • Anhydrous ammonia is a colorless gas that has a sharp, suffocating odor and causes extreme irritation. After breathing even small amounts, symptoms include burning of the throat, nose, and eyes. With exposure to higher doses, choking or coughing might occur. The result of exposure to high levels of anhydrous ammonia can be death caused by chemical burns to the lungs or a swollen throat.

See Part 1 and this continuing series to learn more about the OSHA safety violations Lineage Logistics of McAllen, Texas, is allegedly not in compliance with.

–Guest Contributor


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Accident Attorney – Four Construction Workers are Injured in Fort Worth, Texas – Part 2

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Jordan, Oregon, construction worker

Jordan, Oregon, construction worker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More reasons that may be rather obvious causes of the hazards of construction in Texas follow:

  • Texas is the only state in the entire U.S. that does not require employers to carry worker’s compensation for employees. According to research, one-third of all construction workers have no workers’ compensation coverage. Workers are supposed to be informed if they are not covered by workers’ compensation, according to Texas law; but at least 26% of workers surveyed did not know one way or the other if they were covered. In recent years, legislation was proposed to require worker’s comp, but the Texas bill didn’t get anywhere.
  • Federal OSHA covers all 50 states, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. States can also apply for OSHA-approved State Plans, in addition to benefiting from federal coverage. State Plans are helpful in allowing the individual states to establish regulations and rules not covered under federal guidelines. States can also set more stringent fines and penalties for violations related to workplace safety. Twenty-three states currently do not have state plans, and Texas is one of them.
  • While the rest of the country has struggled in recent years, Texas has continued to thrive economically. The state has benefited from growth within the construction industry. Through all of this prosperity, the workers themselves have not been reaping financial benefit. In fact, research indicates that over 50% of all workers in Texas construction are paid wages below poverty levels, when judging by federal guidelines. Texas construction workers are also frequently the victims of payroll fraud.

Learn more in Part 1 of this two-part series.

–Guest Contributor


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Texas Workplace Accident Injury Lawyer: The CDC Warns of a Deadly Oil Industry Threat – Part 2

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

English: Oil storage tank For the small oil we...

English: Oil storage tank For the small oil well in 1139065. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you consider fatality statistics, working in the oil industry can be very hazardous. Between 2005 and 2009, the oil and gas industry workplace fatality rate was 7 times higher than industry in general and 2.5 times higher than the number of construction fatalities. Employers must provide needed safety equipment, and taking proper precautions is a step that workers should not neglect. In the case of nine fatalities which have recently been linked through research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it appears that wearing a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) may have prevented the tragedies.

An SCBA is what is typically used in the oil and gas industry when:

  • Workers are exposed to extremely toxic chemicals,
  • Containment concentration is not known, and when
  • In oxygen-deficient environments.

Oilfield workers often confess to using the dangerous strategy of simply turning away and being careful not to allow themselves to be hit with a high concentration of fumes, such as when a hatch is released. This shortcut strategy could have been potentially used by all nine of the men who died in the circumstances discussed in this series, when taking oil samples for testing or when tank gauging.

The following is basic information surrounding the nine fatalities between 2010 and 2014 being attributed by the CDC as deaths caused by inhalation of toxic fumes. In all cases, six of which occurred in 2014, the workers were alone or unobserved by other workers when they died:

  • An oilfield worker was found next to an oil storage tank, slumped over the catwalk.
  • An oilfield worker was gauging a crude oil tank and was later discovered dead on the tank battery.
  • A truck driver who had been transferring crude oil was found slumped over the top of railing on a tank battery.
  • A truck driver who had been pumping and hauling crude oil was found slumped over on the catwalk, next to a tank. It appeared that he had been measuring the volume of liquid from the top of a tank battery.
  • As an oilfield worker lost consciousness and fell backwards over the catwalk guardrail as he was pulling an oil sample from a tank.
  • An oil transport company worker was discovered next to a crude oil tank.
  • An oil tanker tractor-trailer driver died when collecting crude oil samples.
  • An oilfield hand had an hourly duty of gauging the amount of liquid in three oil tanks. He was found dead next to a tank battery.
  • In the upper hatch of a crude oil storage tank, a flow tester gauging a crude oil tank was found face down and dead.

See Part 1 of this two-part series.

–Guest Contributor


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A Construction Worker is Injured at a Waco, Texas, Site – Part 5

Monday, May 18th, 2015

English: A construction crane, Copenhagen airp...

English: A construction crane, Copenhagen airport 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Electrocution Continued

Buried power lines and overhead power lines on construction sites are very dangerous because they carry extremely high voltage. The main risk of being exposed to overhead and buried power lines is fatal electrocution; other hazards include burns and falls from hazardous elevations. Using equipment and tools that can come into contact with power lines increases a worker’s risk of being electrocuted. The following are the types of equipment that often contact power lines:

  • Backhoes
  • Cranes
  • Scaffolds
  • Metal ladders
  • Concrete pumpers
  • Long-handled cement finishing floats
  • Raised dump truck beds

The following are tips for avoiding electrical hazards on construction sites:

  • Check for overhead power lines and indicators of buried power lines, and post warning signs.
  • Contact utilities to learn the locations of buried power lines.
  • Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.
  • Always assume overhead lines are energized, unless you know otherwise.
  • Be sure that ground lines are de-energized before working near them. It may be necessary to guard or insulate the lines.
  • Do not use metal ladders near power lines; instead, use non-conductive fiberglass or wooden ladders.

Of approximately 350 fatalities related to electricity that occur in the U.S. annually, almost 30% involve cranes and overhead power lines.

Not only does the presence of overhead power lines create danger at construction sites but the danger of being electrocuted is compounded by factors such as windy conditions that can cause power lines to sway, reducing clearance, or uneven ground that can cause a crane to weave or shift into power lines.

See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 for more construction safety standards in this five-part series.

–Guest Contributor


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A Construction Worker is Injured at a Waco, Texas, Site – Part 3

Friday, May 15th, 2015

English: Mobile rough terrain construction cra...

English: Mobile rough terrain construction crane. Soft ground gave way under the outrigger during the lift of a sea-going container. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Caught-in or Caught Between Hazard Prevention

The following are tips for preventing caught-in or caught between hazards on construction jobs:

  • Recognize hazards. If you don’t know, ask what personal protection systems are needed for the job you are working on. Be sure that you have the needed personal protective equipment and that it fits properly.
  • Be alert to the fact that as work progresses, new hazards may be added to the workplace, in addition to others that may change.
  • Never use a piece of equipment that does not have the required machine guard. In addition, check to ensure that the guard is properly adjusted and in position.
  • Be aware of the fact that you can get caught in machinery by pulleys, gears, belts, rotating shafts, and other moving parts.
  • Avoid loose clothing that can get caught in machinery.
  • If you are not the person operating a piece of equipment, stay away from it as much as possible. When you get too close to equipment, there is the chance that yuou could become pinned between the equipment and a stationary objects, such as a barrier or wall.
  • Stay out of the swing radius of equipment being lifted. Remember that the operator may not be able to see you.
  • If it is necessary for you to approach a piece of equipment, make eye contact with the operator and use a clear hand signal that indicates you are approaching.
  • Respect areas that are barricaded because they are unsafe for pedestrians.
  • Do not enter a trench that is unprotected.

See Part 1 and Part 2 for more construction safety standards in this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor


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Construction Work Zones are More Dangerous in Texas – Part 4

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Traffic congestion, Brasília D.F. (Plano Pilot...

Traffic congestion, Brasília D.F. (Plano Piloto), Brazil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tips for Avoiding the Temptation to Speed

Numerous studies show that speeding is a common practice among motorists in the U.S., in spite of the fact that it is one of the leading causes of traffic-related injuries and fatalities, including in construction work zones. People usually speed because they are running late or concerned about being late. The following are helpful steps to equip you to consistently drive at safe speeds:

  • Plan ahead, making sure that you give yourself plenty of travel time and won’t end up feeling the need to speed so that you can hurriedly get to your destination.
  • Check on the Internet for traffic congestion. This will both let you know how much time you currently need to get to your destination and allow you the opportunity to map out a different route, to avoid the congestion.
  • Leave yourself time to adjust your speed according to road conditions. If the roads are slick and wet, it’s important to allow more space between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. Be especially careful when it first starts to rain because that’s when the rain water mixes with oils and other road deposits to create an especially slick road surface.
  • Be ready to adjust your speed, such as when you are exiting a highway, approaching a merging lane, entering a sharp curve on a two-lane road, or entering a high-traffic area.
  • Establish a state of mind in which you are prepared to simply be late, as opposed to speeding to get to your destination.
  • Develop empathy for construction zone workers so that you do not give in to the temptation to speed in areas where workers are especially vulnerable to traffic.

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

–Guest Contributor


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Federal Agencies Seek Measures to Protect Whistleblowers in Transportation – Part 2

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Freightliner truck at Olympic Bouleward, Los A...

Freightliner truck at Olympic Bouleward, Los Angeles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The trucking industry is the most dangerous occupation, with more deaths than any other industry and accounting for 12% of all worker fatalities. Of all truckers who suffer fatal injuries, about two-thirds of them were involved in crashes on highways. In addition to the most deaths, truckers suffer the most nonfatal injuries than any other occupation. Approximately 50% of nonfatal injuries among truckers were serious strains and sprains, which are likely associated with the task of unloading transported goods. Obviously, it could be a life-saving measure to ensure that truckers are free to report safety violations, without retaliation. The Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) was enacted to provide protection for truck drivers and other motor transportation workers when they report regulation violations or when they refuse to violate safety regulations.

The following is information about the hours of service regulations for property-carrying drivers, as provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Reporting violations of these types of regulations are examples of what is protected by STAA.

Property-Carrying Drivers

  • Following 10 consecutive hours of being off duty, a driver may drive a maximum of 11 hours.
  • Following 10 consecutive hours of being off duty, may not drive longer than the 14th consecutive hours, after coming on duty.
  • Rest breaks are mandatory in certain conditions. Drivers must take a rest break once it is 8 hours since being on duty or since being in the sleeper berth for at least 30 minutes.
  • Drivers have a 60 to 70-hour limit of driving in 7/8 consecutive days. The 7/8 consecutive day period may be restarted after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.

Learn more about transportation safety in Part 1 of this two-part series.

–Guest Contributor

 

 

 


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