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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 66-year-old Man is Killed in a Heavy Equipment Construction Accident Near Poth, Texas

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

(Photo: Labeled for reuse)

Southeast of San Antonio and west of Poth, Texas, a construction worker was killed earlier this month. According to the employer, 66-year-old Salvador Guillen of New Braunfels was struck and killed in a construction accident involving heavy equipment. Guillen had been involved in the repaving work on 541 near FM 2505 when the fatal workplace accident occurred. The employer in this case is a contract company out of New Braunfels, the Dean Word Company. A company spokesperson expressed sorrow over the tragic incident and said Guillen had worked for the company from 1990 to 2008 and came out of retirement to rejoin the workforce in March 2017.

Other agencies at the scene included the Texas Department of Public Safety. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) will be conducting an investigation of the scene. If safety violations are allegedly discovered, the employer will be subject to fines and penalties.

Back in 20006, OSHA reportedly issued a citation to the Dean Word Company for alleged violations related to accident prevention signs and tags. In 2009, OSHA issued a penalty to the employer for alleged violation of standard excavation requirements.

OSHA provides safety procedures for all industries. The purpose is to help to ensure that employers provide workers with a safe workplace environment. Construction is one of the most dangerous industries. There are many common dangers at construction work sites, and working near heavy equipment is among them. When safety measures aren’t taken, it puts lives at risk. It remains to be seen whether negligence was involved in this tragic workplace fatality.

–Guest Contributor


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3 Tower Workers from a Texas Company Die in an Equipment Collapse in Miami Gardens, Florida

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

English: BT Radio Tower

BT Radio Tower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Wednesday, September 27, 2017, a fatal on-the-job accident occurred in Miami Gardens, Florida. Three men working for Tower King II out of Cedar Hill, Texas, were working on a television transmission tower. The piece of equipment they were on collapsed as they were at the top of the 1,000-foot tower. All three men fell to their deaths.

The gin pole is an apparatus that is used when a crane can’t reach high enough for a job that needs to be done. A gin pole was attached to the tower these men were on. According to authorities, the apparatus somehow separated from the tower, causing the three workers to fall. One of the deceased is the son of the man who owns Tower King II.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is conducting an investigation, which is standard after a fatal workplace accident. When workers are injured or die, companies involved in the workplace setting can potentially be held responsible. Employers have a duty to ensure the safety of workers. OSHA provides detailed safety standards for a myriad of potentially risky occupational hazards, and falls are the subject of numerous safety guidelines.

OSHA periodically has campaigns to improve safety in various situations. They have a Fall Prevention Campaign in which statistics are shared. In 2015, there were 350 fatal construction falls, all of which are considered to have been preventable. The 350 deaths were part of a total of 937 construction fatalities that year. Safety guidelines in the OSHA Fall Prevention Campaign include: Plan ahead to get the jobs done correctly; provide the correct equipment; and train everyone to use equipment safely.

–Guest Contributor


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Two Workplace Fatalities in Texas that Occurred in January 2017

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

(Photo: Labeled for reuse)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is still giving attention to workplace fatalities and conducting investigations. Evidence of these tragic incidents has been more difficult to come by since January 2017, with a noticeable shortage of press releases. Keeping worker safety front and center in order to prevent on-the-job accidents should always be a priority. What better warning can there be than a death at work? Learn about Texas workplace fatalities that have occurred this year, per OSHA’s Fatality Inspection Data.

The following are a few details on two tragic workplace fatalities that took place in Texas in January 2017:

On January 4 in Rotan, a worker died after being crushed between two pieces of machinery. The Rotan Gin Company was inspected following the deadly incident. Further details are that at about 2:30 a.m. on the day of the tragedy, an employee became caught between the frame and the lifting forks of the up-ender machine as he was operating it. He was crushed and killed.

On January 5 in Hutchins, Texas, a worker died after being struck by a truck. BI Grim Trucking Inc. was inspected after the fatal workplace accident. Details of the accident follow: At about 4:30 a.m., an employee plus another driver transported a trailer for an 18-wheeler to another facility. The trailer was situated in its designated place. The employee was at the back of the tractor truck and was un-attaching an air hose as well as pulling the pin from the tractor. The tractor pulled forward and the employee was struck in the head by the tractor truck and died from his injuries.

After OSHA conducts inspections, one of the goals of the organizations is to consider whether new safety standards need to be put in place, to prevent repeats of fatal accidents.

–Guest Contributor


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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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