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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 Safety and Health Administration’

A 40-year-old Man is Killed in an Oilfield Accident in Navarro County

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, a 40-year-old oilfield worker was killed in an on-the-job incident. According to Navarro County, Texas, Sheriff Elmer Tanner, police were called at about 10:30 a.m. regarding a tragic workplace incident. According to Tanner, police discovered that a pump jack had fallen on a man. The 40-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene by Darrell Waller, Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace. The identity of the deceased wasn’t released initially, so that next-of-kin could be notified; and there have been no further public updates.

The oilfield fatality is under investigation, and no details have been released.

It’s standard procedure for the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to conduct an investigation of companies involved in all workplace fatalities.

Employers have a responsibility to provide safe workplace environments. Oilfield sites are hazardous and one of the reasons is that there is a lot of heavy machinery. The following is more information about oilfield dangers:

  • Struck-by injuries are produced by forcible impact or contact between an individual and a piece of equipment or an object. Common struck-by oilfield injuries include pressurized lines that are improperly secured and sling failures.
  • Vehicle accidents are also common in the oilfield industry. Employers are urged to ensure that their drivers heed speed limits. In addition, they are encouraged to make sure employees don’t drive fatigued.

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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Work Injury Attorney Dallas – Extreme Heat in Summer Demands Safety Steps for Texas Employers

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

English: HOUSTON, Texas (Dec. 11)--The Port of...

English: HOUSTON, Texas (Dec. 11)–The Port of Houston, the busiest in the nation in terms of foreign tonnage, is accessed by a 54-mile long ship channel. In an average day more than 700 vessel transit the channel. Here, a ship passes under the Fred Hartman bridge on the Houston ship channel, December 11. USCG photo by PA2 James Dillard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All year around, employers have a responsibility to provide workers with a safe workplace environment. When a job involves outdoor work in summer, extreme caution is necessary. Heat-related injuries and fatalities occur every year, though they are virtually always considered preventable. Texas employers will hopefully avoid placing workers in circumstances that allegedly took the life of a 59-year-old man in 2015 in Houston, Texas. The man had been hired for the day to sort aluminum cans, but the heat was excessive. According to OSHA area director Joann Figueroa, the man died of heat illness at a recycling company based in Houston. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been waging annual campaigns to prevent heat illness and heat-related fatalities among outdoor workers. The following information regarding heat stress is from OSHA.

Why is heat hazardous to workers?

In a hot environment, the body must get rid of excess heat, in order to maintain a stable internal temperature. Sweating and circulating blood to the skin are the main ways the body does this. If the air temperature is too close to or warmer than normal body temperature, however, it becomes more difficult to cool the body. The blood that is circulated to the skin can’t lose the extra heat. Sweating is only effective if the humidity level is low enough to allow for evaporation and if salts and fluids that are lost in the heat are replaced adequately.

If the body is unable to get rid of excess heat, it begins storing it. This causes the heart rate to increase and the core temperature to rise. A person in this condition will begin having trouble concentrating and focusing on tasks. He or she may become sick or irritable. The desire to drink is often lost. There are various other symptoms, including fainting. If a person isn’t cooled in time, death can occur.

–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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A Crane Operator Dies Following Contact with a Power Line

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

English: Repairing a power line in Weston, Flo...

English: Repairing a power line in Weston, Florida. Français : Réparation de ligne electrique à Weston, en Floride. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fifty-nine-year-old David Sprague, crane operator, of Windham, Maine, died on the morning of Tuesday, April 18, 2017, after his vehicle came into contact with high tension power lines. The fatal workplace accident occurred at the Deerfield Wind Project, set to include 15 new wind turbines.

According to a spokesperson for Green Mountain Power, they had been asked to turn off the electrical power in the area.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicate that almost half of all overhead crane accidents involve machinery making contact with a power source. The definition of power line contact is: The inadvertent contact of any metal component of a crane with a high-voltage power line. This type of contact occurs most frequently when materials are being moved by a crane and the boom or hoist line touches an energized line.

Multiple fatalities and injuries can occur as a result of a single incident in which industrial machinery comes into contact with power lines. Approximately 200 people die from electrical line contact every year, and about 600 people per year suffer serious injuries. The majority of the victims are guiding a load with a crane at the time of the hazardous contact, but the danger extends to everyone at a worksite.

A lack of properly safety planning and neglecting preventative measures are the most common causes of power line contact.

OSHA provides safety regulations designed to protect crane operators from power line hazards. For example, all operators are advised to consider power lines energized until such time as the electric company verifies that it has been de-energized.

–Guest Contributor

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2 Workers Die in Separate Workplace Accidents; OSHA to Investigate

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

English: Two ATLAS wheeled hydraulic excavator...

English: Two ATLAS wheeled hydraulic excavators on a German construction site. A trench is being excavated with protective trench shielding. Foreground: a clamshell bucket. Français: Deux pelles hydrauliques sur roues ATLAS, sur un chantier en Allemagne. Excavation d’une tranchée blindée. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week at least two workers in the U.S. were killed in on-the-job injuries, and investigations about each incident are underway. In San Diego County, California, a 51-year-old man was killed when a concrete wall collapsed, crushing him. In Gilbert, Arizona, a 34-year-old steel worker died on the job after being struck in the head by a steel beam. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will conduct investigations, and citations for safety violations could follow. Whenever OSHA releases results of safety violations, all other businesses in the U.S. in the same or a similar industry are responsible to become familiar with and abide by any new OSHA requirements that pertain to them.

The Arizona accident occurred at about 7:40 a.m. on Monday, April 3, 2017. After the man was struck by the steel beam, paramedics arrived on the scene, applied treatment, and transported him to a trauma center nearby, where the worker soon died.

The fatal workplace injury that occurred in California also happened on Monday. The 51-year-old man had been digging a trench for a new wall at an auto dealership when an existing cinderblock wall fell on him. Firefighters worked for approximately an hour and a half to move the rubble. When they reached the worker, he had already died. Another worker on the scene suffered mild injuries and was transported to a hospital.

Employers are provided with detailed instructions on how to keep employees safe in virtually any type of work situation. Employers have a responsibility to ensure that workplace environments are safe for workers. Texas employers, as in all states, that share either of above-named industries are also responsible to become familiar with related workplace incidents, in order to take recommended actions to avoid similar occurrences.

–Guest Contributor

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A 43-year-old Oilfield Worker is Killed on the Job in Brazoria County, Texas

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

English: Oil well An oil rig used for training.

English: Oil well An oil rig used for training. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, a fatal workplace accident occurred in Brazoria County, Texas, south of Pearland near Highway 35 and County Road 129. A piece of equipment weighing between 2,500 and 3,500 pounds was being lifted when it broke free and fell to the ground, also striking and killing 43-year-old Antonio Perez of El Campo. The tragedy occurred at the Denbury Resources Oil Field. The oilfield worker was pronounced dead at the scene, and an investigation into the accident is ongoing.

There are certain risks associated with all work environments, and an oil field is among the more dangerous workplaces. Employers have a responsibility to workers to follow safety guidelines provided by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The following are safety hazards that are associated with oil and gas extraction activities, as identified by OSHA:

  • Machine hazards
  • Struck-by, caught-in, and caught between hazards
  • Vehicle collisions
  • Explosions and fires
  • Falls
  • Ergonomic hazards
  • Confined spaces
  • Electrical and other hazardous energy
  • High pressured lines and equipment

For each of these hazardous areas and more, OSHA provides safety guidelines. Employers have access to what they need to maximize the safety in every work environment. When companies fail to follow safety rules, there is a greater likelihood that someone will be seriously hurt or killed.

Many would argue that when it comes to hazardous machinery and equipment in the workplace, the oil and gas industry ranks first. Dangerous machines often operate in unguarded areas, which puts workers at further risk. The following are examples of operations that should be performed with great caution by competent operators:

  • Spinning chain
  • Heavy lifts and hoists
  • Traveling derrick
  • drilling
  • Loading and unloading materials

–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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An Oklahoma Company is Hit with $535,411 in proposed OSHA Fines

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

English: Logo for the United States Occupation...

English: Logo for the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) holds employers responsible for failing to provide employees with a safe work environment. Companies must understand the safety standards for their own industries and comply or face penalties. BigTex Trailer Manufacturing Inc., doing business as CM Truck Beds, out of Oklahoma allegedly created a work environment in which employees could be killed or seriously injured, according to OSHA area director in Oklahoma City, David Bates. As a result of a complaint alleging that the working conditions were unsafe, an investigation of the facilities was done in July 2016. OSHA investigators issued citations for 20 alleged serious violations, two alleged repeat violations, one alleged willful violation, and several other-than-serious alleged violations. Proposed penalties issued in January 2017 amounted to $535,411.

The following are brief descriptions of some of the 20 serious alleged violations CM Truck Beds was cited for. The company allegedly failed to:

  • Label chemicals properly.
  • Ensure the safe use of powered industrial trucks.
  • Ensure the safe use of the spray booth in order to prevent overexposure.
  • Store compressed gas tanks properly.
  • Cover floor holes safely and ensure exits are properly labeled and accessible.
  • Inspect and guard sprockets and chain slings.
  • Ensure safety guards on a portable grinder were in place.
  • Maintain a program for hazardous energy control and train workers on safety procedures.

The one alleged willful violation involved failing to provide machine guarding in order to protect operators and other workers in the area from hazards such as those created by flying chips and sparks, rotating parts, ingoing nip points, and point of operation. The proposed OSHA penalty for this alleged violation alone is: $124,709.

Learn more specifics about various alleged violations in this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

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2 Dallas Workers in a Highway Construction Zone are Injured by an Alleged Drunk Driver

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

English: Category:Images of Dallas, Texas

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

Two highway construction workers were injured on February 8, 2017, when the driver of a Nissan Pathfinder crashed into them at a construction site on Interstate 35 in Dallas, Texas. The driver has been charged with intoxication assault, and the workers were transported to a nearby hospital. No details regarding their conditions have been released.

Government agencies such as the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) have a responsibility to keep workers safe, just as other employers do. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidelines for keeping construction zone workers safe. The following key elements of worker safety are provided by OSHA:

  • In order to minimize the vulnerability of construction zone workers, they should be trained on procedures for safely working near motor vehicle traffic.
  • Temporary traffic barriers should be placed along any areas where construction workers are working.
  • Steps should be taken to reduce the speed of traffic in the construction zone.
  • Activity in the internal construction zone area should be carefully planned to reduce exposure to risk by minimizing maneuvers in which construction vehicles are required to back up.
  • The employer should designate a competent person to conduct a hazard assessment for the work site and determine which job classifications are needed in the activity area.

OSHA goes into specific details about matters affecting worker safety. For instance, the distance between construction zone signs should vary, depending on the situation. Advance warning signs are longer on expressways and freeways, since motorists are more accustomed to uninterrupted traffic flow. Because speed is the cause of the most accidents in road construction work zones, warnings and signs to slow motorists down are essential.

–Guest Contributor


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With OSHA Changes, Employers have Additional Motivation to Keep Workers Safe

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

The seal of the United States Department of Labor

The seal of the United States Department of Labor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the first time in a quarter of a century, maximum penalties for workplace safety violations have been increased by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Small business owners need to take more care than ever to follow safety regulations, since the maximum penalty for a serious violation jumped from $7,000 to $12,471. The maximum penalty for a repeat or willful violation dramatically shot up from $70,000 to $124,709. These laws were mandated by Congress in the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act, making them likely to remain intact with the incoming administration.

Creating a culture of safety within the workplace is the most effective way to avoid OSHA inspections and resulting financial penalties. It has perhaps never been so crucial for small business owners to avoid OSHA penalties; the following information can be helpful:

  • OSHA representatives are not required to give any type of advance warning about an investigation. A company may get a visit simply because the industry it’s in has a high-hazard classification.
  • Many times, complaints are investigated over the phone. By immediately and fully handling such matters, a follow-up on-site inspection can usually be avoided.
  • When OSHA investigators arrive on site, they conduct an open investigation with a goal for complete transparency. In fact, employers and chosen representatives are free to join compliance officers on their walk-through tours of the workplace. When hazards are resolved at the time discovered, it demonstrates good faith. Inspections can take place over a course of hours, days, or weeks. The size of the workplace and the nature of the inspection both determine how long the process takes.
  • Once the walk-around during an inspection is finished, OSHA compliance officers are required to meet with employers and employer representatives to discuss all findings. OSHA has six months from the time an alleged violation occurs to impose financial penalties and issue citations.

Workers have a right to a safe workplace. Any extra effort given to ensure worker safety is a very good thing, no matter the motivation.

–Guest Contributor


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