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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 ‘OSHA’

A Plumber Dies in a Trench Collapse in Flower Mound, Texas

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Flower Mound, Texas, Community Center (Photo: Labeled for Reuse)

Forty-five-year-old Christopher Corbet, a plumber, was killed in an on-the-job accident in Flower Mound, Texas, on December 14, 2017. He had dug a trench to go underneath a residence, and the trench collapsed. Fire crews and officers with the Flower Mound Police Department responded to the residence and attempted to rescue Corbet. They were unable to establish communication with him. Eventually, his body was recovered from beneath the home.

A ten-year study ending in 2009 that was conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that approximately 35 workers die in the U.S. every year as a result of excavation or trenching cave-ins. Experts say that workers don’t always recognize the danger of working around dirt. According to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), one cubic yard of dirt can weigh 3,000 pounds or more. In addition, trenches can collapse with no warning.

The following are some of the factors that affect the stability of soil at an excavation or trenching site:

  • Type of soil
  • Water content in soil
  • Proximity of site to previously backfilled excavations
  • Nearness of heavy machinery and tools
  • Vibrations caused by tools and heavy equipment

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires a protection system when trenches are 5 feet deep or more, with the exception of an excavation consisting completely of stable rock.

The following are tips for workers regarding trenches:

  • Never enter a trench that doesn’t have a protection system in place.
  • Never enter a trench until it has been inspected by someone qualified to determine whether it is safe to enter.
  • Exit a trench immediately if you see any evidence that there may be problems with the protective system. Contact a competent person to perform an inspection.
  • Never assume that you will have time to move and escape injury if a trench collapses.

Employers have a responsibility to workers, to ensure that proper trenching safety procedures are used on all jobs.

–Guest Contributor

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A Marshall, Texas, Company Reaches a Settlement Agreement Regarding a $545,160 Penalty with OSHA, after a Manager’s Death

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

This is Maplecroft the main house in the Starr...

This is Maplecroft the main house in the Starr Family State Historic Site in Marshall, Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On November 29, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a settlement agreement with Marshall Pottery, Inc., of Marshall, Texas. Forty-two-year-old assistant plant manager Arturo Gonzalez died on Easter Sunday morning this year when he was servicing a kiln. It became activated, and he was trapped inside. According to his autopsy report, Gonzalez died of environmental hyperthermia on April 17. OSHA investigators cited the company for 6 willful violations and 21 serious violations.

Sources say that the kiln’s automated system closed the kiln doors behind him unexpectedly and without warning, and it began heating. Emergency personnel were advised at about 6:59 am that Gonzalez was stuck and had possibly died in the kiln.

According to OSHA Area Director Basil Singh in Dallas, Texas, in 2008, the same company was cited for similar violations after another workplace fatality occurred at the plant. Singh said that it is unacceptable for employers to fail to implement confined space and lockout\tagout programs.

An OSHA publication about confined spaces says that there is increased risk of exposure to serious physical injury from dangers such as hazardous atmospheric conditions, engulfment, and entrapment. Limited access, restricted airflow, and confinement are also among the hazardous conditions that don’t typically arise in open workplace settings.

Employers are responsible to implement written programs for confined spaces. Methods of controlling hazards include isolating the permit space, providing barriers, and purging, flushing, making inert, or ventilating the permit space.

–Guest Contributor

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Texas Construction Worker Fatalities plus Safety Tips

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Construction worker in San Francisco.

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

Among the 50 states, Texas leads in construction work zone fatalities. Between 2003 and 2015, there were 1,324 fatalities in construction work zones, which comes to approximately 102 per year. Texas averaged 13 work zone fatalities each year. Throughout the U.S., new materials and methods are being tested and utilized, to try to reduce the risk of roadway work zone injuries. Among the solutions are steel barricades and “smart safety vests” that can detect when an object is approaching a worker too quickly and alert the worker. It has been discovered that offsite prefabrication of structural components used on overpasses helps to keep workers safer and reduces the impact on traffic.

The leading cause of construction worker fatalities is falls, slips, and trips. The next most dangerous are transportation incidents, contact with equipment or objects, and exposure to harmful environments or substances.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified the “Fatal Four,” which have been the top causes of worker deaths on construction sites. Through OSHA, they are identified as falls, electrocution, struck-by-object, and caught-in/caught-between accidents. The following are construction safety tips for avoiding a deadly workplace accident:

  • When using power tools, wear a face shield, glasses, or goggles. In addition, check to be sure protective guards are in place and in good condition.
  • Never position yourself underneath a suspended load. Make sure heavy machine operators see you. When heavy equipment and vehicles are in use, stay clear.
  • Wear a hard hat at all times when on a construction site, and avoid being in areas where work is being performed above you.
  • Use screen, debris nets, and toeboards to secure materials and tools.
  • Always focus on what you are doing but also be watchful for people carrying objects that block their view.
  • Be familiar with the equipment you use, so that you know where wrap, crush, pinch, pull-in, and sheer points are located.
  • Before doing equipment inspections or repairs, chock the wheels on equipment that could move and shut the equipment down.
  • Don’t wear jewelry at work. Wear close-fitting clothing and keep long hair in a bun, to prevent getting caught in moving machinery.

–Guest Contributor

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A FedEx Employee Dies from Workplace Injuries and the Family is Preparing to File a Wrongful Death Suit

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport in Lubbock (Photo: Photo labeled for reuse)

On October 17, 2017, at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport in Lubbock, Texas, FedEx employee Michael Merton was killed while performing his work as a mechanic. As of October 31, 2017, Merton’s children are reportedly in the process of filing a wrongful death suit in Lubbock County suing FedEx because their father was allegedly crushed inside an airplane he was working in, and as a result he suffered fatal injuries. The family claims that the employer failed to properly train and supervise employees to safely perform their assigned tasks.

The investigation into the death is still ongoing. It could be months before investigating agencies file their conclusions, including the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

FedEx has been cooperating with authorities, and they have expressed their condolences to the family.

Employers have a duty to provide safe workplace environments. In addition, they are required to train employees so that they recognize potential workplace hazards and can be proactive in helping to prevent on-the-job injuries.

The primary organization providing workplace oversight to keep workers safe is OSHA. There are compliance assistance specialists in most of the 85 Area Offices throughout the country, and they provide robust education and outreach programs for workers and employers. In 2016, OSHA significantly increased the fines for penalties associated with safety violations. The maximum penalty for repeated or willful violations, for example, went from $70,000 to $124,709, which is an increase of 78%. The U.S. Secretary of Labor at that time, Thomas E. Perez, said that civil penalties should be credible deterrents that widely influence behavior and keep employees safer.

–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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Dallas, Texas Work Accident Attorney – August Temperatures in Texas Pose a Risk of Heat-Related Injury to Outdoor Workers in Construction & Other Industries

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

(Photo: Labeled for Reuse)

With August 2017 halfway over, the concern for construction workers and others who work outside is not over for the summer. Heat-related illnesses and fatalities can easily occur if proper precautions are not taken in 100-degree weather. The State Senate in Texas considered a bill earlier this year that would have required construction crews to be given a 15-minute break every 4 hours. The bill was never was voted on. Fortunately, many employers are taking precautions to protect workers from the dangerous heat. There is also help from the Department of Labor’s Occupations Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

An app was created by OSHA just for outdoor workers. It’s called the “heat index app,” and it lets you know the feels-like temperature as well as what precautions should be taken, in order to avoid a heat-related injury or a deadly heat sroke.

Construction workers and those in other industries who work outdoors are at greater risk than many may realize, since they are also exerting themselves in the heat. A new worker who hasn’t been working in the heat before is typically given special considerations, since it can take the body a few days to adjust to working in such circumstances.

At an Austin construction company, a manager for Environmental Health and Safety says that each morning workers gather to discuss and identify symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The manager makes regular checks of the crew members throughout high-temperature days, to ensure that the workers are getting plenty of hydration and taking breaks in the shade. In addition, the workers are strongly urged to look out for one another.

National statistics show that 2,630 workers in the U.S. suffered from heat-related illnesses and 18 workers died from heat stroke while on the job in 2014.

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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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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Hurt at Work Lawyer – OSHA Cites 5 Texas Companies for Alleged Asbestos Hazards and More

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

English: The Legacy Tower in foreground under ...

English: The Legacy Tower in foreground under construction at about the 35 floor and The Sears Tower in background (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 workplace 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 for allegedly exposing employees to work injuries 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.

One Eighty Construction has been cited for one alleged serious OSHA violation and one alleged willful violation. Some details about the alleged serious violation follow:

On construction projects, all general contractors are deemed by OSHA standards to exercise general supervisory authority covered in this standard, even though he or she is not a person qualified as the asbestos “competent person” described in the standard. The general contractor must make a determination regarding whether the asbestos contractor has complied with this standard and, as necessary require compliance. OSHA alleges that the general contractor failed to make this determination.

More specifically, on or about October 13, 2015, and at times prior, employer One Eight Construction, functioning as the general manager during renovation of the One Eleven Park Avenue apartments, allegedly failed to determine whether the asbestos contractor complied with the standard and failed to require the sub-contractors to comply with the standard during the removal of flooring material containing asbestos.

Learn more about these citations for alleged OSHA safety violations in this ongoing series.

–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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