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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 ‘Dallas’

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 23-year-old Houston, Texas, Worker Dies After Falling from Scaffolding

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

English: Corn Hill Scaffold Scaffolding suppor...

English: Corn Hill Scaffold Scaffolding supports the Corn Mill, the car park to Wolverhampton railway station in the background. 928985 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The tragic incident that took the life of a 23-year-old worker from Houston, Texas, on Monday, September 12, 2016, was first reported as a collapsed scaffolding accident. Further reports show that the man fell from scaffolding that he was attached to with a harness. Parts of the scaffolding fell with him. It’s believed the weight of the scaffolding pulled him down. Fellow workers attempted to rescue him but were unable to. His body was quickly recovered by the Coast Guard near the Port of Texas City, where the work was being done.

When the tragic work fatality occurred, the worker was installing scaffolding on the docks. Each of the workers had an option to either wear a life jacket or a harness. The deceased was one of five contractors building the scaffold. Two witnessed the fall. No one else was injured.

The worker was employed by Excel Scaffolding, and he worked there for about a year. Excel notified the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as required. According to the company’s communications manager, OSHA was already on site in connection with a previous incident at the refinery.

Falls are the most common type of fatal work injury on construction jobs and yet they are considered preventable incidents. There were 291 fatal construction falls to a lower level in 2013. OSHA offers safety programs that focus solely on the dangers of falls in the workplace. Construction is the industry that is connected with the most fatal falls.

–Guest Contributor


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Contract Worker for a Company Headquartered in Texas Dies of Heat Exposure – Part 7

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

English: Category:Images of Dallas, Texas

English: Category:Images of Dallas, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited JV Industrial Cos. Ltd., headquartered in Pasadena, Texas, in connection with an alleged preventable workplace fatality. A 45-year-old pipefitter died on the job on March 17, 2015, as he was outdoors cutting pipe while wearing four layers of clothing. Employers have a responsibility to protect workers from heat-related injuries and illness.

The following are more details regarding the less serious types of heat-related illness and appropriate first-aid measures:

Heat Cramps

Symptoms of heat cramps include muscle spasms and pain, typically in the legs, arms, or abdomen. The following are first aid tips for workers suffering from heat cramps:

  • The worker should sit or lie down in a shady, cool area.
  • The worker should drink plenty of water or some other type of cool, hydrating beverage.
  • The worker should not be allowed to resume strenuous work of any kind for several hours.
  • If the cramps don’t go away after a few hours, seek medical attention.

Heat Rash

If you have clusters of red bumps on your upper chest or neck or in folds of skin, you are likely suffering from heat rash. Keep the affected areas dry. When possible, worker in a cooler environment with less humidity.

Texas workers in many industries are exposed to extreme heat, and they should be given appropriate consideration to avoid heat-related illnesses. Research shows that there are about 12 days every year in Dallas that exceed 100° F, though there were 42 consecutive days above 100° F in Dallas in 1980. Workers’ lives really do depend upon employers taking seriously the responsibility to keep them safe, when it comes to working in the grueling Texas heat.

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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Four Railroad Workers are Injured in a Derailment North of Fort Worth

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

English: A goods train derailment in or near B...

English: A goods train derailment in or near Birrong, New South Wales (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

High winds combined with flooding are likely to blame for a train derailment that occurred on Friday in Cooke County about 50 miles north of Fort Worth, Texas. Seventeen cars derailed on the southbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) freight train. The freight was non-hazardous. Following the train wreck, four railroad workers (crewmembers) were transported to a hospital in Denton for treatment of their injuries, none of which were believed to be life-threatening. Work is underway to get the rail line cleared off and to determine exactly what happened.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the train derailment, it’s possible that the workers may have a valid claim under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). FELA is a United Stated federal law enacted in 1908 in order to protect and compensate railroad workers who are injured on the job.

According to FELA statistics, approximately 3,000 railway accidents occur in the U.S. annually. There are about 1,000 railroad fatalities every year. Derailments are the most common type of accident, and the railroad workers most at risk are brake operators, switch operators, and signal operators.

FELA is not a workers’ compensation program, although it does protect workers and their families in the event of a railway accident resulting in a death or injury. FELA gives workers the right to sue their employers if their negligence is the cause of an on-the-job injury or fatality. With workers’ compensation, an employee does not have to prove anything related to a workplace injury; but the amount that can be recovered through worker’s comp is often far less than costs associated with an injury. FELA requires proof of an employer’s negligence, but there is no cap on the amount that can be recovered.

–Guest Contributor


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One is Dead Following a Bridge Collapse at a Road Construction Site near Salado, Texas

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

The interchange of IH-35 and Texas State Highw...

The interchange of IH-35 and Texas State Highway 45 under construction at 30.480, -97.674, Round Rock, Texas, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An 18-wheeler driver failed to properly heed warning signs about the height limitation of a bridge just north of Salado, Texas, at about 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, according to officials. The commercial driver struck the bottom of a bridge that was under construction on Interstate 35 because his truck was 6 1/2 inches taller than the bridge. As a result of the crash, the bridge collapsed. A driver in a pickup truck became lodged between two concrete and steel beams, as a result of the crash, and he died at the scene. Three other people were injured, and there was no mention whether the commercial truck driver was one of them.

The fatal construction site accident occurred about 40 miles north of Austin. Investigators verified that there were three signs leading up to the bridge, all of which indicated a clearance of 13 feet and 6 inches, though the actual height was 14 feet and ½ inch. Either the truck or its load was 14 feet 7 inches tall, according to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

When the 18-wheeler struck the overpass, beams fell onto vehicles on I-35. Numerous vehicles were involved, including two other semi-trucks as well as two pickup trucks.

The construction project at the accident site is part of an effort to widen I-35 from four to six lanes.

Anytime a truck has a load higher than 14 feet, a permit for an oversized load is required. Truck drivers have a responsibility to take note of bridge heights and to ensure that they can safely make clearance under overpasses and other structures.

–Guest Contributor


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Dallas Lawyer: New OSHA Rules in Effect as of January 1, 2015, with No Grace Period – Part 2

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Apple Adjustable Keyboard is an adjustable spl...

Apple Adjustable Keyboard is an adjustable split keyboard (ergonomic) — Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has made changes to the illness and injury reporting rules, which went into effect on the first day of 2015. More details about upcoming OSHA changes follow:

  • Ergonomic guidelines for the healthcare industry are in the process of being developed for revision by OSHA. Ergonomic guidelines are already published by OSHA for several industries. Guidelines are not the equivalent of regulations, but ergonomic violations can still be cited under OSHA’s General Duty Clause, which is true when any accepted industry guidelines are in place. OSHA has acknowledged for quite a few years that ergonomic equipment in the workplace can be very important to prevent workers from suffering as a result of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). For the year 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 33% of all worker injury and illness cases were MSDs.
  • Somewhat controversial standards are currently being considered by OSHA with regard to updating silica standards. It is expected that there will be slow progress on changing silica standards. Public hearings were held in 2014 with regard to the proposal, and in June of this year it is expected that analyzing the comments will be completed. It is projected that if the proposed changes are enacted, it will not happen until after January of 2017, when President Obama leaves office.
  • A presidential mandate was made to review OSHA’s Process Safety Management regulations, in reaction to the fatal West, Texas, explosion. A small business review will be conducted on that initiative by June of 2015.

See Part 1 of this two-part series.

–Guest Contributor

 


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OSHA Fines a Texas Linen Company in Excess of $125,000

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Bed made up with bed linens with blue and gree...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

company were serious, which means there is a significant probability hazards about which the employer knew or should have known could cause serious physical harm or death.  Serious citations issued included failure to:

  • Provide protection from falls for employers who were working at an elevation of 16 feet
  • Provide an appropriate number of locks and enforcement of lockout procedures during machine servicing in order to prevent injuries from unexpected restart of equipment and machinery
  • Ensure that a fiberglass ladder was set up correctly and used correctly

There are also a number of repeat citations issued by OSAH, including failure to:

  • Cover floor holes
  • Provide machine guards for sprockets, chains, rotating parts, and points of operation
  • Properly identify locks for machine servicing
  • Make portable fire extinguishers easily accessible

In 2008, the same company was fined in excess of $150,000 for more than 40 health and safety violations, including failing to provide Hepatitis B vaccinations to employees within ten days of being assigned to handle soiled health care linens.

–Guest Contributor

 

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A Troy, Texas, Company Faces OSHA Penalties of $66,400

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

English: A guy stick welding.

English: A guy stick welding. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued proposed penalties of $66,400 to a company based in Troy, Texas, for 15 alleged serious health and safety standards violations. According to the Austin area director of OSHA, Casey Perkins, this is not the first time C & H Die Casting has allegedly exposed workers to serious harm by failing to provide a workplace that is hazard-free. He stressed that it is unacceptable to wait until a worker has been seriously or fatally injured before addressing safety issues.

The company was found to have allegedly violated 30 serious health and safety OSHA standards in a 2013 inspection. Among those OSHA violations was exposing workers to the hazards of using spliced electrical cords. The 2013 citations resulted in proposed fines amounting to $112,500. Again in September of 2014, OSHA inspectors found that workers are still exposed to electrical shock hazards. There is a penalty of $22,000 for the repeat violation alone.

The other 14 serious safety violations included numerous electrical violations, such as uncovered welding terminals, and failure to:

  • Guard shafts, pulleys, and belts;
  • Repair uneven and damaged concrete floors; and
  • Provide personal protective equipment to an employee pouring hot metal into dies, which exposes workers to burn hazards.

–Guest Contributor

 

 


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Dallas, Texas Lawyer: Top 10 Construction Hazards in Texas – Part 11

Monday, December 29th, 2014

English: View of The Bow construction site, Ap...

English: View of The Bow construction site, April 20, 2009, looking toward the southwest, taking from the Telus Tower. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are numerous dangers at a construction site, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified the leading hazards. Employers have a responsibility to properly address each one so that workers are guaranteed a safe workplace. Learn about ten of the leading causes of construction injuries and fatalities in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, and below.

Open shafts and edges – Other aspects of fall safety are ensuring that open shafts are protected by sturdy covers or guardrails and ensuring that workers are safe from the hazards of unprotected edges, such as on a rooftop. The employer has a responsibility to protect workers using a safety net system, personal fall arrest system, or guardrail system. When a worker is at a minimum height of 6 feet in the construction industry, he is at risk for a dangerous fall. The height of a fall distance is not important when it comes to working over dangerous machinery or equipment; in those cases, protection must be provided no matter how small the distance. When doing the work of steel erection, workers must be protected when working or walking on surfaces with unprotected sides or edges higher than 15 feet, though there are some exceptions.

–Guest Contributor

 

 

 


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Top 10 Construction Hazards in Texas – Part 10

Monday, December 29th, 2014

365-259

365-259 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are numerous dangers at a construction site, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified the leading hazards. Employers have a responsibility to properly address each one so that workers are guaranteed a safe work environment. Learn about ten of the leading causes of construction injuries and fatalities in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, below, and in this ongoing series. The final of the ten most common construction hazards is in the next and final installment.

Unsafe cantilever loading platforms– OSHA has specific requirements with regard to the cantilevered portion of platforms. For instance, if a platform is more than 10 feet long, it will not extend more than 18 inches over its support unless the platform has been designed and installed specifically so that the platform’s cantilevered portion is capable of supporting employees. Brackets which support cantilevered loads are required to be seated with end-brackets at 90-degrees to the frames and side-brackets parallel to the frames. The most important consideration with the cantilevered portion of a platform is that it is capable of supporting materials and or workers without tipping.

–Guest Contributor

 


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