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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 ‘New York City’

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 $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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36-year-old Man Dies in a Construction Site Trench Collapse in San Antonio, Texas

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

San Antonio is the largest city in South Texas.

San Antonio is the largest city in South Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On March 9, 2017, 36-year-old David Allen Williams was working at a construction site in San Antonio, Texas, in wet weather when he fell into a trench that collapsed. He was trapped in heavy clay soil, up to his neck. At about 4:30 pm, when rescue firefighters arrived on the scene, they found that co-workers were attempting to rescue Williams. The firefighters continued the attempt, but Williams died while efforts to help him were still underway. The tonnage of the soil that entrapped him was more than anyone could withstand, according to Chief Charles Hood of the San Antonio Fire Department. He also said the conditions for trying to dig someone out were some of the worst.

During the extended period of recovery, the trench walls had to be secured once again, to prevent any further collapse.

This tragic workplace fatality will be investigated by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This is the federal organization designed to hold employers responsible for the safety of their workers.

Trench collapses are well covered in OSHA safety guidelines because trenches are known to be potentially deadly. Construction sites virtually always involve some sort of trenching. There are a number of dangers associated with trenching, including:

  • If heavy machinery gets too close to the edge of a trench, the result can be a dangerous collapse;
  • Working too close to traffic can cause sides of trenching to be more unstable;
  • Electrical hazards are present overhead and underground.
  • Natural gas can also be a dangerous underground utility in a construction trench.
  • It is required the trenches be tested for toxic gases before workers enter, since that is another common threat to worker safety.
  • In wet weather conditions, when it is difficult to stabilize soil, workers are not supposed to work in trenches.

Enforcement of trenching and excavation operations has been increased by OSHA in recent years, due to the risks involved and the number of lives lost. It is of utmost importance that employers protect workers with correct trenching measures, since even one square yard of soil is more weight than a person may be able to survive.

–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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Scaffolding Lawyer – A San Antonio, Texas, Company Faces $175,700 in Proposed OSHA Penalties – Part 4

Monday, June 6th, 2016

English: A&A riggers Ben Thiesing, left, and D...

English: A&A riggers Ben Thiesing, left, and David Mateer, right, take the slack out of lifting slings before a rough terrain forklift lifts a 1940 German PAK38 anti-tank gun for loading. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a press release made public on May 31, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposes $175,700 in penalties against W.S. Steel Erection LLC. The steel fabrication and erection company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, and has about 75 employees. The alleged repeat and serious OSHA violations resulting in costly penalties occurred at a worksite in Canyon Lake, Texas. Casey Perkins, OSHA’s Austin area director, said that, in spite of a tragic fall fatality at the company in 2011, W.S. Steel continues exposing workers to the hazard of potentially fatal falls. Perkins points out that falls are the number one cause of construction industry fatalities.

The following is information about an alleged repeat OSHA violation that W.S. Steel has 15 days to address, in response to the report:

The employer allegedly failed to protect workers on scaffolds more than 10 feet above a lower level from falling to a lower level because fall protection was not provided, according to OSHA standards.

More specifically, on or about December 1, 2015, at the Canyon Lake, Texas, worksite, an employee was standing on a temporary elevated plywood platform while installing trim. The platform was approximately 17 feet at the time and was supported by a rough terrain forklift. The employee did not have any type of fall protection.

According to OSHA, W.S. Steel was previously cited for a similar violation. A final order was issued on July 20, 2015, in regard to a New Braunfels, Texas, worksite.

The proposed penalty for this alleged repeat violation is: $70,000.

See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this continuing series regarding alleged OSHA violations by this San Antonio company.

–Guest Compensation


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Lawyer for South Texas Work Accident – Worker’s Memorial Day 2016 Involves Controversy Among Rail Workers – Part 5

Monday, May 9th, 2016

English: The western ramp and pylon of Brookly...

English: The western ramp and pylon of Brooklyn Bridge, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each year on April 28, Workers’ Memorial Day is observed in the U.S. It is a time to give recognition to workers who suffered or died as a result of exposure to workplace hazards.

At the mass in recognition of deceased construction workers who died while working in New York City, only two of those who were honored were working on union jobs when their fatal construction accidents occurred. One of the union workers was 25-year-old Dominick Deluca. He was working on scaffolding in the Bronx at the Butler House in May 2015 when he fell 15 feet. The other union worker was 56-year-old Manuel Sobral, who died in Central Park after being run over by his van.

At the mass, some construction workers expressed their belief that the union worker fatalities were freak accidents but that all of the others were preventable tragedies.

In August, at a construction site in Hell’s Kitchen, 27-year-old Angel Muñoz fell down an elevator shaft. Workers at that site had been working 60-hour weeks before the fatal accident occurred.

Seven construction workers were crushed in Clinton Hill in September after the collapse of a retaining wall. The only worker who didn’t survive was 19-year-old Fernando Venegas.

Alton Louise had spoken up about suffering in the heat wave in July. After that, he was again sent up on the roof to continue working on the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, project. Later that day he collapsed and died. Father Brian Jordan, who spoke at the mass, mentioned Louise, saying that his body temperature measured 106 degrees. Rev. Jordan said things need to change; construction workers need to be treated like human beings.

See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this continuing series. In the next segment, learn about the dangers of working in construction in Texas.

–Guest Contributor


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Attorney for El Paso Work Injury – Worker’s Memorial Day 2016 Involves Controversy Among Rail Workers – Part 4

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

English: Construction worker resting in a brea...

English: Construction worker resting in a break. New York City 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each year on April 28, Workers’ Memorial Day is observed in the U.S. It is a time to give recognition to workers who suffered or died as a result of exposure to workplace hazards.

There is concern about workplace dangers across many industries. Just this week in New York, a memorial mass was held in honor of 16 construction workers who died in New York City in the past 12 months. Construction is a dangerous industry, and the number of construction fatalities in NYC alone has been steadily rising. In 2014, 8 construction workers were killed on the job. In 2015, there were 12 deadly construction accidents. The previous /most recent statistics in which so many died were in the years 2007 and 2008, when 12 and 19 construction workers, respectively, were killed on the job.

Steps have been taken to make construction in New York City safer, however. In February, it was announced that harsher fines for endangering workers are now in place. In addition, 100 new inspectors have been added to the enforcement workforce.

Unions say the real problem that needs to be addressed is the fact that the fatal construction accidents involved nonunion jobs almost exclusively. According to third-generation electrician Larry Amandola, a lot of the deaths were preventable.

See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this continuing series. In the next segment, learn more about the types of construction accidents which resulted in fatalities in recent months in New York City.

–Guest Contributor


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DFW, Texas Work Accident Lawyer – Worker’s Memorial Day 2016 Involves Controversy Among Rail Workers – Part 3

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

WORKMEN SANDBLAST WITH "BLACK BEAUTY,&quo...

WORKMEN SANDBLAST WITH “BLACK BEAUTY,” SLAG FROM STEEL MILLS. SLAG IS CONSIDERED TO BE LESS DAMAGING TO THE WORKMEN’S… – NARA – 546033 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each year on April 28, Workers’ Memorial Day is observed in the U.S. It is a time to give recognition to workers who suffered or died as a result of exposure to workplace hazards.

Construction workers are among the employees in the U.S. with the highest fatality and injury rates. They, along with other industry workers, have recently been given something to celebrate as regards workplace safety. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a new silica rule on March 24, 2016. The long-awaited safety standard goes further in protecting workers from crystalline silica dust. OSHA estimates that up to 600 lives could be saved and another 900 new cases of silicosis could be prevented as a result of the new standard.

To understand more about the importance of addressing the threat of silicosis, see the following information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Every year 1.7 million or more workers in the U.S. are exposed to respirable crystalline silica.
  • The industries in which employees are exposed to silica include construction, mining, and sandblasting.
  • Silica is an irreversible disease most frequently associated with occupational exposure to silica dust.
  • Exposure to respirable crystalline silica is associated with development of silicosis, pulmonary tuberculosis, lung cancer, and airways diseases. Other adverse health effects linked to exposure to silica include chronic renal disease and autoimmune disorders.

Silicosis and other health effects linked to exposure to respirable crystalline silica are entirely preventable, which is why employers must be held accountable when they fail to protect workers.

See Part 1 and Part 2 of this continuing series.

–Guest Contributor


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Work Injury Lawyer for El Paso – OSHA Cites 5 Texas Companies for Alleged Asbestos Hazards –Part 12

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

Asbestos mask

Asbestos mask (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a March 22, 2016, news release, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that five Texas companies are facing a total of $185,000 in penalties for allegedly failing to protect workers from asbestos and other hazards. The multi-family rental property that OSHA inspected and that led to these citations is in San Antonio, Texas, at One Eleven Park Avenue. The companies that have been cited are: One Eighty Construction Inc.; Varco Builders of Texas; Roscoe Properties Inc.; Colors Unlimited; and One Eleven Park. Local developer Jason Berkowitz is the owner of both One Eighty Construction and Roscoe. The latter is a commercial real estate management firm and has 50-plus properties in San Antonio, Houston, Austin, and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Details about one more alleged serious OSHA violation issued to Colors Unlimited follow:

Asbestos scrap, debris, waste, containers, equipment, bags, and contaminated clothing consigned for disposal were not collected and disposed of in impermeable, labeled, and sealed bags or other closed, impermeable, and labeled containers. More specifically, on or about October 13, 2015, on the north side of the apartment complex, workers were exposed to respiratory hazards of disposing of asbestos containing material in a non-sealed container (construction rolloff). The proposed penalty for this alleged violation is: $2,800.

Details about the one alleged serious OSHA violation issued to One Eleven Park LLC follow:

The facility owner and/or building owner allegedly failed to notify all employers and employees who worked within or adjacent to the areas containing asbestos containing materials (ACM) and presumed asbestos containing materials regarding the presence, location, and quantity. More specifically, on or about October 13, 2015, One Eleven Park, LLC allegedly failed to notify employers of workers of the presence, quantity, and location of asbestos containing floor tile and mastic at the One Eleven Park Avenue Apartments. The proposed penalty for this alleged violation is: $2,800.

Learn more about these citations in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, and Part 11 of this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor


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OSHA Cites 5 Texas Companies for Alleged Asbestos Hazards –Part 7

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

English: Amli on 2nd apartments in Austin, Texas

English: Amli on 2nd apartments in Austin, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a March 22, 2016, news release, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that five Texas companies are facing a total of $185,000 in penalties for allegedly failing to protect workers from asbestos and other hazards. The multi-family rental property that OSHA inspected and that led to these citations is in San Antonio, Texas, at One Eleven Park Avenue. The companies that have been cited are: One Eighty Construction Inc.; Varco Builders of Texas; Roscoe Properties Inc.; Colors Unlimited; and One Eleven Park. Local developer Jason Berkowitz is the owner of both One Eighty Construction and Roscoe. The latter is a commercial real estate management firm and has 50-plus properties in San Antonio, Houston, Austin, and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Details about another citation for an alleged serious violation issued to Varco Builders of Texas, LLC., dba Varco Renovations follows:

OSHA alleges that receptacles, rosettes, lamps, lampholders, or fixtures had live parts routinely exposed to worker contact. More specifically, on or about October 1, 2015, and at times prior, workers were exposed to electrical shock hazards while they were switching lights off and on and plugging into receptacles that had faceplates and/or covers removed. This violation was observed in the following rooms of the apartment building: 101, 102, 105, 106, 107, 109, 202, and 203.

The proposed penalty for this alleged serious violation is: $3,080.

Learn more about these citations in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6 of this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor


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