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.
Construction worker moving a concrete barrier. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Texas Department of Insurance released information about fatal occupational injuries in the state. The following are more of the key findings regarding 2013 fatal occupational injuries:
The second leading cause of workplace fatalities was contact with objects, with 76 in 2013, up from 65 in 2012. Of these fatal injuries, 72% or 55 incidents involved being struck by equipment or an object; this is a 17% increase from 2012. Eighteen percent or 14 incidents involved workers being compressed by or caught in objects or equipment in 2013; this was in increase from 5 incidents in the previous year.
In Texas, the industry subsectors experiencing the most fatal occupational injuries were truck transportation, with 64 incidents; specialty trade contractors, also with 64 incidents; mining support activities, with 47; heavy and civil engineering construction, with 37 incidents; and safety, public order, and justice activities, with 36 incidents.
The occupation which had the most workplace fatalities in Texas in 2013 was heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, with 104 incidents; this was down from 121 incidents in 2012, a 14% decrease. Next, there were 78 fatal occupational injuries among construction trade workers, and there were 82 in 2012. Thirty-four of total fatal injuries within the construction trade occupations were construction laborers.
See Part 1 of this continuing series for more information about 2013 fatal occupational injuries and to learn about a September safety initiative.
The Texas Department of Insurance released an announcement this month which shows that there was a decrease in the number of fatal occupational injuries in the state. There were 536 in 2012 and 493 in 2013, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). There were 4,405 fatal work injuries in the U.S. in 2013. In 2012, the rate of fatal work injuries in Texas was 4.4 per 100,000 full-time employees; those statistics for 2013 will be released in spring of 2015.
The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) provides data regarding fatal work injuries with descriptive details in an ongoing effort to assist safety professionals, policymakers, and employers in identifying occupational safety and health issues in Texas.
The following are more of the key findings regarding 2013 fatal occupational injuries:
Transportation incidents continue to be the leading cause of fatal work injuries in Texas, and these types of fatalities account for the majority of the decrease in deaths last year. From 2012, the number of transportation-related work fatalities declined by 49 incidents, from 193 to 154.
Support activities for the mining industry in Texas showed a decrease in workplace fatalities, from 30 incidents in 2012 to 25 last year.
Wholesale trade showed an increase in workplace fatalities, from 12 in 2012 to 18 in 2013.
See this continuing series for more information about 2013 fatal occupational injujries and to learn about a September safety initiative.
English: Tree Trimming, Queens Avenue, Dorchester (2) This trimming is normally done in the winter when the trees are dormant. Occasionally branches will be lopped if they are interfering with property or wires, or are a danger over roads or paths. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is hurricane season, and Texas has its share of catastrophic weather. Many homeowners are wise enough to prepare for hurricanes before the weather forecasts identify possible trouble headed our way. Felling and trimming trees is typically best left to professionals. There are also many hazards associated with cleanup of uprooted trees. With the potential dangers of dealing with trees in mind and to help keep workers safe, the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (TDI-DWC) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) collaborated to provide the following information about dangers involved with tree trimming and tree felling after a hurricane:
When encountering power lines, always assume that they are energized and could cause deadly electrocution.
Before starting work, conduct a hazard assessment.
Prior to doing the work of clearing trees, discuss grounding, shielding or de-energizing the power lines with the utility company.
When moving equipment such as ladders near downed trees and power lines, use extreme caution.
Wear gloves, safety glasses, hard hats, protective footwear, and other appropriate protective equipment.
The most dangerous logging activity is felling trees, which means that safety is a crucial consideration. Felling a tree correctly means that it will fall in a planned direction that causes the least amount of damage. Here are safety tips for felling trees:
Know where everyone in the immediate area is located and be sure they are aware of the direction the tree is intended to fall.
Survey the surrounding area of the tree and minimize or eliminate exposure to potential hazards.
See this continuing series for more details on safely felling trees.
When employees report safety and health hazards, it helps to improve working conditions for everyone. The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (TDI-DWC) encourages workers to contact them about situations on the job which endanger employees. The following is a continuation of steps taken after a health or safety hazard has been reported:
The hazard is corrected by the employer.
The TDI-DWC is notified by the insurance carrier or employer that the hazard is corrected.
Upon request, TDI-DWC contacts the person who reported the workplace hazard and advises him or her of the final outcome of the investigation.
The case is closed.
If you are going to use the Safety Violations Hotline, it may help to know the following information:
Reports of health and safety hazards in the workplace can be taken in English or Spanish.
Based on information given by the employee, each report is fully investigated, as much as possible.
You are not required to give your name when you report a hazard.
It is illegal for an employer to take a disciplinary action – such as termination, harassment, or demotion – against a person who reports a health or safety hazard.
If employment is suspended or terminated for reporting a workplace hazard, you are entitled to job and compensation recovery for wages lost during the period of suspension as well as reinstatement of seniority rights and fringe benefits.
See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this four-part series to learn statistics concerning construction worker fatalities in Texas and the remaining steps taken by the TDI-DWC following the report of a safety or health hazard.
Dee and Charles Wyly Theater, Dallas Center for the Performing Arts under construction, Arts District, Dallas, Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Late last month the Texas Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) report for 2012 was published. According to information from data released by CFOI, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and U.S. Department of Labor, there were 531 job-related deaths in Texas in 2012, which was an increase from the previous year.
The job segments in which the fatality rates were highest included construction, transportation, agriculture, and gas, oil, and mining extraction industries.
A statistic that has ranked below the national average since 1990, when the collection of data began, the Texas non-fatal rate of occupational injuries was 2.7 for every 100 full-time workers in 2011—the 2012 figures for nonfatal injuries isn’t released yet.
Other findings from the fatal work injury report for 2012 include:
There were 90 more fatal work incidents in 2012 as compared to 2011.
As usual, the most work fatalities in Texas were in transportation. There were 106 fatal roadway incidents involving a motorized land vehicle in 2011, and that number increased to 191 in 2012.
Nationally, two work sectors that saw an increase in fatal work injuries in 2012 were private construction and mining. The oil and gas extraction industries saw a 23% rise in workplace fatalities, with a total of 138 deaths in 2012.
In Texas, mining industry support activities had an increase in fatalities from 12 in 2011 to 30 in 2012. The increase in fatal job incidents in construction went from 22 to 42. In truck transportation, job-related deaths increased from 43 to 66.
The deadliest industry in Texas in 2012 was driving heavy and tractor-trailer trucks, with a 57% increase in fatalities, from 77 incidents the year before to 121. Death among workers in construction rose from 59 to 82.
The full report on Texas workplace fatalities is available on the website for The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (TDI-DWC).
In most Texas work injury cases, your recovery is limited to the benefits available under the Texas Department of Insurance workers’ compensation program. Workers’ compensation claims have pros and cons. On one hand, you are not required to show that your injury was your employer’s fault, which makes getting paid much simpler. On the other hand, the amount that you can recover is capped by law, so the amount you are paid may not be enough to fully compensate you for your injury.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, which allow you to hire a Texas work injury lawyer to sue your employer. One is the Federal Employers Liability Act, which protects injured railroad workers. Another is the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (also called the “Jones Act”), which allows sailors “who … suffer personal injury in the course of [their] employment” to sue the ship’s owner, the captain of the ship, or other crew members for negligence.
This law applies not only to seagoing vessels, but also to certain offshore oil rigs (those that are not attached to the ocean floor). To be eligible for the law’s protections, a worker must be a “seaman,” which the United States Supreme Court has defined as a worker who spends at least 30 percent of his time in the service of a vessel. A protected seaman can bring a Texas work injury action in state or federal court, and is entitled to a jury trial.
If you have been injured on the job, a Texas work injury lawyer may be able to help you file a lawsuit against your employer for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To see if your case falls under the Federal Employers Liability Act, the Jones Act, or another exception to mandatory workers’ compensation, please contact Dallas work injury lawyer Dean Malone today.