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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 ‘Occupational Health & Safety’

Two Construction Workers are Crushed by 1,000 Pounds of Rebar in San Antonio, Texas

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Construction workers in Houston, Texas (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On Thursday, February 1, 2018, approximately 1,000 pounds of rebar crashed down onto two workers at a Texas Department of Transportation construction site in San Antonio, Texas. One of the workers was fully trapped underneath the rebar. His injuries include multiple broken bones and serious head trauma, according to police. He was in critical condition, and paramedics took him to University Hospital. The other worker’s leg was crushed underneath the rebar. He was in serious condition and was also taken to the same medical facility. Debris from the construction accident caused two other workers to suffer minor injuries. They were treated onsite and released.

According to Sgt. Mark Hubbard of the San Antonio Police Department, the injured workers had been tying together a row of rebar support beams approximately 20 yards long. They were forming a support structure. It was going to be lifted onto a pillar onto which a new access road will be built, from Loop 410 to westbound U.S. 90. Tragically, one of the beams suspending the rebar in the air tipped over, which caused all of the rebar to collapse.

The construction incident is being treated as an accident at this time. An investigation will be conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The San Antonio Police Department will make inquiries into the workplace accident, as well.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that workers have a safe workplace environment. OSHA provides safety guidelines that employers are required to follow, for the protection of workers.

–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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Construction Accident Attorney in Dallas: Texas Is Number One in Job Creation and Worker Fatalities

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

English: Walton-on-the-Naze pier A roofer is w...

English: Walton-on-the-Naze pier A roofer is working on the top of the pier, viewed from the Esplanade. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Texas currently has bragging rights as far as job growth numbers. Unfortunately, Texas also has the distinction of having more workplace fatalities than any other state. According to statistics, a worker in Texas has a 12% greater chance of being killed on the job than someone doing the same job someplace else in the U.S. Statistics also show where the greatest danger lies. It probably comes as no surprise to many that the booming construction side of the Texas economy is also where many on-the-job fatalities occur. The total number of construction site fatalities in Texas is 22% greater than the national average.

Reports show that a full 40% of workplace fatalities in Texas are among electricians, roofers, and others in the specialty construction industry. Many of those who are fatally injured are independent contractors responsible for their own training and safety equipment, and many others are immigrants without proper documentation.

The State of Texas has a solid reputation as a business-friendly climate, but the environment which draws many employers has been compared more than once to the Wild West. While one side of the argument stresses the importance of abstaining from overregulation, the other side points out that employees are the ones who lose out due to the non-union-friendly environment.

Learn more details and statistics about worker fatalities in Texas in this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor


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An Arborist in Liberty, Texas, Falls from a Truck and Dies

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Worker at a considerable height lacking any ki...

Worker at a considerable height lacking any kind of PPE. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In late September, a man working for a tree service in Liberty, Texas, suffered a fatal work injury after falling from the bucket truck he was working on. According to the scant details provided about the tragic accident, the man was bounced off of the platform. After he fell, he was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital, where he died two days later.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) helps to monitor worker safety among employers in the U.S., but the organization also provides safety guidelines for employers. The goal is to prevent work-related injuries and fatalities.

On the topic of tree trimming alone, a wealth of safety guidelines are provided by OSHA. The following are recommendations specifically designed to address the hazards associated with the use of aerial lifts:

  • It is essential not to exceed the basket load limits and boom limits that manufacturers specify.
  • Before the boom is raised, brakes must be set and outriggers used and secured.
  • Before moving the vehicle, as regards ladder and tower trucks, ensure that all people are out of the basket. The exception would be if the equipment was designed for the specific purpose of moving while in use.
  • Never override safety devices involving mechanical, hydraulic, or electrical safety.
  • Never use an aerial lift as a device for lifting material or as a crane.
  • Never make modifications to an aerial lift unless a written certification has first been obtained from the manufacturer.

The following are essential work practices and engineering controls designed to prevent arborists from falling from heights:

  • Users should stand firmly on the floor and not climb on or sit on the rails or edge of the basket.
  • No devices should be used to elevate workers above the basket.
  • When a person is working from an aerial lift, a body harness should be used; it must be properly attached, for fall protection.

–Guest Contributor

 


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A Construction Worker Falls to His Death in Tyler, Texas

Monday, September 29th, 2014

On Thursday, September 18, in Tyler, Texas, a 35-year-old construction worker died after falling from a fork lift three stories high.  The Tyler Police were called to the construction site of the new Marriott Residence Inn at about 12:30 p.m. in regards to an industrial accident. Upon arrival, they discovered that the man had died from injuries sustained in the fall.

Mark Castillo was exiting through a window on the third floor and climbed into a large wood box that was situated on a fork lift. The box, with Castillo inside, fell to the ground from the fork lift. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was contacted and took over investigation of the incident.

According to some of the workers at the scene of the fatal workplace accident, the construction site has many safety violations; and one workers who asked to remain anonymous said he was surprised someone had not been injured or killed prior to this tragic incident.

Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment. According to law, workers can report unsafe working conditions without fear of retaliation from employers.

Under OSHA guidelines regarding construction safety, it says that employers must determine if working surfaces on which employees are to stand have the structural integrity and strength to safely support employees. Employees are not to be allowed to work on surfaces until it has been shown that they have the required structural integrity and strength.

OSHA also says that any employee on a working or walking surface that is 6 feet or higher must be protected by a safety net system, personal fall arrest system, or guardrail system.

Of course, the facts of this incident are still being investigated. It is not, however, difficult to imagine that a box on a forklift that becomes unstable and falls when a man gets into it was not adequately secured.

–Guest Contributor


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Denton Work Accident Injury Attorney: A Program for Preventing the Most Common Type of Workplace Injury – Part 2

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Computer Workstation Variables

Computer Workstation Variables (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another element of this innovative program involving early intervention specialists, on-site education is provided in order to educate workers on proper work techniques. The employees receive training specific to their job at their work spaces. The training ranges widely, depending on an employee’s tasks. Instruction on proper lifting techniques may be discussed, for example.

The National Athletic Trainers Association (www.nata.org) conducted a study of companies which utilized this approach for using early intervention specialists (athletic trainers) to help reduce workplace injuries. The following results were reported:

  • The return on investment (ROI) was $7 per employee per $1 invested for 30% of participants.
  • All companies (100%) surveyed reported an ROI.
  • The ROI was $3 per $1 invested for 83% of participants.
  • Severity of injuries decreased by 25% or more for 94% of the companies surveyed.
  • Workers compensation claims and restricted workdays for musculoskeletal disorders decreased by at least 25% among 68% of participating companies.
  • About half of the companies reported at least a 50% decrease in injuries.
  • By using on-site rehabilitation, cost of care decreased by more than 50% among 46% of the companies surveyed.

See Part 1 of this two-part series for more information about this method of addressing workplace injuries.

–Guest Contributor


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Texas Ranks First in Roadway Construction Work Zone Fatalities

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Construction worker in San Francisco.

Construction worker in San Francisco. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A highway construction worker in Texas was recently injured as a result of a motorist speeding through a roadway construction work zone and passing other vehicles on the right shoulder. In addition to the dangers posed by drivers, roadway construction workers can be injured or killed by moving construction equipment and vehicles. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is working to prevent injuries and fatalities at roadway construction worksites, such as accidents in which workers are backed over by construction vehicles. NIOSH Workplace Solutions has put specific controls and procedures in place, to reduce the number of accidents.

Analysis of construction accidents revealed that in 2003, across the U.S., there were 1,095 roadway maintenance work zone fatalities and general construction fatalities. There has been a significant decline, with 609 deaths in 2012. Texas was among the three states with the most construction worker fatalities in maintenance work zones and construction zones in 2012; the other states were California and Florida, and all three had at least 50 construction fatalities.

The focus of some of these studies has been on hazardous roadway work zones, where lane changes, barrels, and numerous signs are involved with the process of repairing, building, and maintaining the country’s bridges, streets, and highways.

–Guest Contributor

 


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A Worker in the Fracking Industry is Killed in San Antonio, Texas

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

English: A forklift operator brings his vehicl...

English: A forklift operator brings his vehicle into place to load a C-130 aircraft during a hands-on segment of Uganda ADAPT 2010, a mentoring program conducted in Entebbe, Uganda, that resulted in certifying 25 soldiers as C-130 aircraft load planners. U.S. Army photo by Gordon Christensen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 3,500-pound bag of fracking sand dropped onto a 60-year-old worker yesterday, and the man died from his injuries. The fatal work injury occurred in San Antonio, Texas, on the site of an oilfield transportation company located on Bulverde Road near Loop 1604. The San Antonio Police Department is investigating the circumstances surrounding the deadly accident.

Public Information Officer with the San Antonio Fire Department Christian Bove described what happened. A forklift operator was attempting to lift several of the bags of fracking sand. The sacks were stacked onto the forklift, and the now deceased worker was “spotting” for the forklift operator. At about 10:00 a.m., one of the bags fell off of the forklift and onto the worker. It is believed that the man died instantly.

Fracking sand is used in an industry that is fraught with dangers to workers, the public in general, and the environment. Fracking is a technology which has made previously unreachable pockets of gas and oil in shale formations accessible and, therefore, profitable.

Workers in the fracking industry are very much at risk, a fact that is substantiated with worker fatality statistics. There was almost a 100% increase in the number of workers killed in the industry between 2009 and 2012. In 2012 alone,138 workers suffered fatal on-the-job injuries. In a figure directly linked to an increase in workers involved with fracking, the fatality rate for oil and gas workers is almost 8 times higher than the rate representing the entire industry, which comes to 3.2 deaths for every 100,000 workers. Explosions are an all too common occurrence, among other risk factors. Lack of proper training and failure to follow safe practices are among the leading causes of hazardous accidents within the industry.

In this continuing series, read about more dangers to workers and the public caused by the fracking industry.

–Guest Contributor


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A Construction Worker is Injured by a Falling Object in Austin, Texas – Part 2

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Deutsch: Industrielle Hochdruckreinigung von D...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The following are more safety measures for construction work, to prevent injuries caused by falling or flying objects:

  • Stored materials should not be placed within 6 feet of floor openings.
  • Before using saws, grinders, drills, and other power tools, workers should be trained. They should also wear appropriate protective gear.
  • Tools and other items should be secured so that they cannot fall onto people below. Materials should be stacked and secured to prevent falling, collapsing, sliding, and being blown by gusts of wind. In addition, areas should be clutter-free.
  • Personal protective equipment should be worn to protect workers from being injured by falling or flying objects. Wear goggles, safety glasses, a face shield, hearing protection, and a hard hat, as needed.
  • Take precautions when cleaning with compressed air. Reduce the psi to 30, and use with protective equipment such as proper guards. Do not clean your clothing with compressed air because a particle could be driven into your skin or your eye by the force.
  • Concrete and masonry walls are extremely dangerous to workers. The workers can be struck by materials when materials are not shored properly and when equipment is lifted, putting slabs into position.
  • Before using hand tools or impact tools, be sure the handles are not cracked, splintered, or loosened. The head of the tool could fly off and strike you or others, if it is not secure.
  • Workers should all be trained on the safe operation of tools.
  • Operators of tools that are powder-actuated must be both trained and licensed.

See Part 1 of this two-part series for more safety tips related to working in areas where there can be falling or flying objects.

–Guest Contributor


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A Construction Worker is Injured by a Falling Object in Austin, Texas

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Seattle - Escala under construction 01

Seattle – Escala under construction 01 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A construction work injury occurred in Austin, Texas, Friday when an object fell on a worker on the 21st floor of a new high-rise building. The man reportedly suffered a traumatic injury and was taken by ambulance to University Medical Center Brackenridge. Police said the man was wearing a hardhat.

“Struck-by” injuries are common in construction, and employers are obligated to provide protection from all known workplace hazards. To reduce injuries, control measures should be in place. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers are most frequently struck by:

  • Vehicles and heavy equipment, such as cranes and trucks.
  • Flying or falling objects, such as flying particles and tools.
  • Masonry or concrete walls that are under construction.

The following are safety measures to prevent injuries caused by falling or flying objects:

  • To prevent items such as tools from falling from overhead work areas, use screens, toeboards, guardrails on scaffolds, and debris nets.
  • Conduct inspections to ensure that hoists, cranes, and tools are in good working condition.
  • Never work under a suspended load, even when in work areas underneath hoists, scaffolds, and cranes.
  • Post warning signs and barricade hazard areas.
  • Never exceed capacity on a load being hoisted. Watch for unstable soil, power lines, and high winds, all of which can cause accidents and injuries.
  • When tools are being used, all protective guards for rotating and moving parts should be in place.

For more safety tips related to working in areas where there can be falling or flying objects, see this continuing series.

–Guest Contributor


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