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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 ‘Lawsuit’

A Vinyl Floor Manufacturer Faces $514,236 in OSHA Penalties – Part 2

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

English: The Frances Perkins Building located ...

English: The Frances Perkins Building located at 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Built in 1975, the modernist office building serves as headquarters of the United States Department of Labor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two workers were injured on the job at a vinyl floor manufacturer facility in Fostoria, Ohio. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted an inspection after the workplace injuries were reported. On December 21, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor announced in a press release that Nox US LLC, a luxury vinyl tile manufacturer in Ohio, is now facing proposed penalties in the amount of $514,236 for alleged safety violations.

The following is more information about those willful violations:

  • On or about July 11, 2017, according to OSHA investigators, the employer allegedly failed to properly train employees on lockout/tagout equipment. One example is the grinder and hopper butterfly valves on Line 1 of the PVC Recycle System. Workers allegedly did not control all of the sources of hazardous energy, such as pneumatic and electrical, prior to conducting activities such as cleaning the hopper and rebuilding the grinder. Employees were exposed to amputation hazards because all hazardous energy sources were not controlled before conducting work, as required. The Proposed Penalty for the Alleged Willful Violation: $126,749.
  • On or about July 14, 2017, at Nox US, LLC, in Fostoria, Ohio, the employer allegedly failed to ensure that there was an enclosed stationary casing on the rotating horizontal shaft of the transfer table, which was located next to Cutter #2. In addition, on or about July 3, the same violation allegedly occurred next to Cutter #3. The Proposed Penalty for the Alleged Willful Violation: $108,639.

See Part 1 of this two-part series.

–Guest Contributor


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A Female Construction Worker is San Antonio Crushed by a Backhoe

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

A CONSTRUCTION WORKER DRILLS THROUGH SOLID ROC...

A CONSTRUCTION WORKER DRILLS THROUGH SOLID ROCK ALONG ESCOWEE STREET ON THE BANK OF THE CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER PRIOR TO… – NARA – 557735 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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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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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Texas Construction Accident Lawyer – OSHA Cites 2 Employers Related to a Worker in an Unprotected Trench in Conroe TX – Part 3

Monday, November 30th, 2015

English: Culverts (concrete), used for drainag...

English: Culverts (concrete), used for drainage under roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released findings from a June investigation of North Texas Contracting Inc. and K&S Contractors. The inspection was initiated by a report that employees at a Conroe, Texas, worksite were working in an unprotected trench. North Texas Contracting was fined $59,100; and K&S Contractors was fined $6,800. Steve Devine, acting OSHA area director in the Houston North office, said that it puts a worker’s life in serious and immediate jeopardy when exposed to trenching hazards.

The following are citations OSHA issued to North Texas Contracting, Inc. for alleged serious violations:

North Texas Contracting allegedly failed to remove defective rigging equipment from service. Specifically, on or about June 2, 2105, and at times prior, at a location in Conroe, Texas, employees were exposed to struck-by hazards as they were lifting concrete culverts weighing 23,000 pounds. According to OSHA, the lifting hook was defective. The proposed penalty for this alleged violation is: $7,000.

OSHA alleges that pavements, sidewalks, or appurtenant structures had been undermined and employees were not protected from the possible collapse of the structures, which needed some type of support system. The violation was allegedly observed on or about June 2 and at times prior at a location in Conroe. Employees were exposed to struck-by hazards when they were working in a trench when the undermined asphalt driveway had not been supported to prevent collapse. The proposed penalty for this alleged violation is: $7,000.

See Part 1 and Part 2 of this continuing series to learn more.

–Guest Contributor


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Texas Attorney – The Jones Act Provides Legal Recourse for Injured Seamen and their Families

Friday, April 17th, 2015

English: ARABIAN GULF (Oct. 20, 2011) Boatswai...

English: ARABIAN GULF (Oct. 20, 2011) Boatswain’s Mate Seamen Daniel Nogal, left, and Lucio Robles take lines off a pallet of stores sent to the guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) from the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Wally Schirra (T-AKE 8) during a replenishment at sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Deven B. King/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Jones Act of 1920 is a federal law related to maritime matters. One important part of the law is Title 46 of the code, which allows injured seamen and their families to bring civil actions against their employers if negligence associated with the workplace leads to a seaman’s injury or death. This is different from workers’ compensation but basically the same as the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) of 1908, which protects railroad workers.

The Jones Act has one disadvantage as compared with workers’ compensation and one advantage over workers’ comp. Whereas with workers’ compensation, an employee does not need to prove that he or she sustained an on-the-job injury, a seaman does need to prove that the employer was negligent.

With workers’ comp, as a tradeoff for the fact that the employer is liable for the injury without the need for proof of negligence, the damages available to the employee rarely cover the financial or medical needs associated with chronic pain and/or permanent disability that results from workplace injuries. Under the Jones Act, seamen can file a civil lawsuit, where they or their families can potentially be rewarded a sum that actually covers the long-term needs associated with workplace injuries or fatalities.

One of the most important provisions of the Jones Act is that the law applies expressly to “seamen.” A complication is created by the fact that a functional definition of what a seamen is does not exist. Part of the legal process is confirming that a particular crew member who becomes injured or who is killed on the job qualifies as a seaman.

Learn more about the Jones Act and protection to maritime workers in this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor


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A $5.3 Million Liability Judgment is Upheld in a Texas Appellate Court

Monday, February 9th, 2015

These pictures show some of the hardware which...

These pictures show some of the hardware which comprise the Landsat 7 satellite. Tractor and the forward end of the Transporter as it is being backed into the shelter behind building 27. 07-October-1998 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In April of 2007, a worker for a Lubbock, Texas, company fell headfirst from a flatbed trailer that was loaded unevenly. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, and he and his wife filed a lawsuit against the company, which was a worker’s compensation nonsubscriber. They alleged that the complainant’s injuries were the result of the company’s negligence, and a jury awarded them $5.3 million in damages. Since that time, the case has been in appeal. There have also been failed attempts at a settlement agreement. This week, an appellate court upheld the judgment.

The money includes compensation for the man’s past and future mental anguish and physical pain in the amount of $1 million. The wife was awarded $400,000 for loss of consortium, past and future. She was also awarded additional payments because of her husband’s physical impairment and loss of earning capacity.

The company contended several things in the court filing for appeal, including that the verdict which found them negligent was improper because the definition of negligence presented to the jury was too broad. Another argument they posed in appeal was that evidence was factually and legally insufficient to uphold the negligence charge.

The Texas 7th District Court of Appeals three-judge panel unanimously decided to uphold the ruling in the case. Among their findings was that the worker was placed in an uncommonly precarious situation which was not characteristic of his usually work duties, and proper safety equipment and supervision were lacking. The panel also found that the evidence supported the multi-million dollar award.

–Guest Contributor


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Texas Leads the Nation in Construction Worker Deaths

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

English: W Austin Hotel and Residences under c...

English: W Austin Hotel and Residences under construction in Austin, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Texas is the most dangerous place in the U.S. to work in construction, according to nationwide statistics; There are several factors which contribute to the dismal fact that there are more fatal construction accidents in Texas than any other state, such as the following:

  • Employers in Texas are not required to give construction workers safety training. In other words, without training, construction workers operate dangerous machinery and may or may not properly wear personal protective equipment. They are exposed to countless other hazards.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the primary U.S. agency that ensures the safety of workers. Texas is among the states with the lowest percentage of OSHA investigators-to-workers.
  • There are many times when workers report unsafe conditions on constructions sites, but the sites are never investigated due to the shortage of OSHA investigators.
  • Developers are frequently repeat offenders of violations which endanger workers, but they often don’t face any consequences.

The Workers Defense Project (WPD) pointed out that between 2007 and 2011, construction workers were fatally injured on the job in Texas at almost double the rate of those in California. Some actions are taking place to help ensure the safety of workers, thanks largely to WPD’s efforts. In Austin, for example, an ordinance is expected to be enacted which requires more rest breaks for construction workers than just the lunch break; such a consideration becomes especially important during the brutally hot summer days in Texas.

WPD is a non-profit organization that seeks to empower low-wage workers to be treated fairly on the job through the means of direct services, education, and strategic partnerships. It was founded in Austin, Texas, in August of 2002.

–Guest Contributor

 

 


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Third-Party Lawsuits for Texas Workplace Injuries

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

An American judge talking to a lawyer.

Image via Wikipedia

Most employees who experience a Texas work injury are already aware of the availability of benefits through the workers’ compensation program (a state-regulated insurance program that will pay medical bills and a portion of lost wages). Many workers are not aware, however, that in certain situations, additional recovery may be available through a third-party lawsuit.

Who Can I Sue for My Texas Work Injury?

Employees generally are unable to sue their employers for workplace injuries, assuming the employer chooses to provide worker’s compensation insurance. However, if your injury was caused by a third party (other than you or your employer), you may be able to sue them. Some common targets of third-party lawsuits are:

  • Manufacturers of dangerous or defective equipment that led to your injury.
  • Another driver who caused an accident while you were driving as part of your job duties.
  • Subcontractors whose negligence at a construction site caused your injury.

What’s the Difference Between Workers’ Comp and Third-Party Lawsuits?

Texas workers’ compensation laws cap the amount you can receive, so if your injury is serious or leads to a permanent disability, the amount you receive through workers’ compensation may fall far short of your actual costs. Additionally, workers’ compensation does not allow you to recover damages for pain and suffering; a third-party lawsuit does. If both options are available, a third-party lawsuit is generally more likely to get you the full amount to which your injuries entitle you.

Texas Work Injury Lawyer Dean Malone Can Help

– Guest Contributor

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Texas Work Injury: A General Overview, Part 2

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Factory buildings in Lowell, Mass. (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

In Texas Work Injury: A General Overview, Part 1, we discussed Texas workers’ compensation claims. A workers’ compensation claim is one of the two ways you can pursue financial recovery for your Texas workplace injury. The other is through a personal injury lawsuit.

A Personal Injury Lawsuit

If your employer does not provide workers’ compensation, then you may sue your employer for damages in a personal injury lawsuit. If your employer does provide workers’ compensation coverage, the only way you can receive monetary damages in court is if you can sue anyone else who’s responsible for your workplace-related injury (but not the employer) in a third-party lawsuit. An example of a responsible third party is the manufacturer of a defective product that was used in the workplace and caused your injury.

If workers’ compensation is insufficient to fully pay for your injury-related expenses (and it often is), a third-party lawsuit may entitle you to recover more, such as: past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future wages, property damage, and emotional damages such as pain and suffering.

– Guest Contributor

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