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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 ‘Texas’

A Worker in a Katy, Texas, Auto Shop is Crushed in a Fatal Accident

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Repair Auto Mechanic Car Automobile Service (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On the afternoon of Tuesday, January 30, 2018, a fatal workplace accident occurred at an auto shop in Katy, Texas. On West Grand Parkway South at Premiere Off Road and Performance, which is in a strip center near the Katy Freeway, a truck fell onto a worker, crushing him. It was determined early on that a tire jack somehow failed, causing the deadly incident. Harris County emergency medical services crews, firefighters, and Houston police officers responded to the emergency call. Medics reported that the man had already died at the scene, due to being crushed after the failure of an auto jack or lift. The deadly workplace accident is under investigation. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be among the investigators of the workplace death. The name of the victim was not immediately released by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

According to OSHA, workers at automotive shops are vulnerable to various workplace hazards, including exposure to dangerous chemicals. Workplace standards have been established, to ensure a safe work environment for mechanics.

Research shows that failure to provide adequate safety equipment is among the most common OSHA violations that auto shops are cited for. The types of auto shop safety equipment workers are supposed to have readily available to them include goggles, noise reduction devices, and respiratory safety equipment.

OSHA requires that large, standardized tools such as car lifts must be regularly inspected and serviced, to be up to safety standards. Companies can be penalized and have costly penalties imposed on them, for failure to comply with safety standards.

–Guest Contributor

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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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Five Workers Die in a Drilling Rig Explosion in Oklahoma, including a Fort Worth, Texas, Man

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Drilling rig capable of both diamond and rever...

Drilling rig capable of both diamond and reverse circulation drilling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Monday, January 22, 2018, a huge blaze followed a violent explosion at a drilling rig in Oklahoma, killing five workers. The drilling rig, which is west of Quinton, Oklahoma, is owned by Patterson-UTI Energy, a company based in Houston, Texas. Rescuers had to wait until the following day to enter the area, due to the intensity of the fire. On Tuesday, the five missing workers were found in the area they are presumed to have been working in, called the “dog house.” Due to the heat that was there, it is believed to be where the fire initially started. The victims were: 35-year-old Josh Ray of Ft. Worth, Texas; 29-year-old Matt Smith of McAlester, Oklahoma; 26-year-old Cody Risk of Wellington, Colorado; 60-year-old Parker Waldridge of Crescent, Oklahoma; and 55-year-old Roger Cunningham of Seminole, Oklahoma. Smith, Risk, and Ray were employed with the Houston company.

Seventeen workers at the site managed to escape the fire. Some were uninjured, some suffered minor injuries, and one was transported to a Tulsa hospital via medical helicopter.

According to the Pittsburg County Sheriff, Chris Morris, the five workers who died were too near the source of the explosion and fire to escape.

The incident occurred at one of the modern rigs owned by Patterson-UTI, the APEX 1500. The rig and virtually all of the equipment collapsed to the ground by midday on Monday, as the blaze continued.

An investigation will be done to determine what caused the deadly workplace explosion. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) will be among those looking into what happened. There will be an inspection. If any safety violations are discovered, Patterson-UTI could face costly penalties.

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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Construction Equipment Obstructs I-10 near Eastlake, Texas, Allegedly Causing 2 Deaths

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

Interstate 10 (Photo: Labeled fore reuse)

A construction company is allegedly responsible for machinery that obstructed highway traffic on Interstate 10 between Americas and Eastlake, Texas, resulting in the death of a young man and woman on December 22, 2017. The tragic crash occurred at approximately 2:30 a.m. The conveyer arm of heavy construction machinery was blocking traffic from the median of the highway. The wreck that claimed the lives of Keserie Paredes of Van Alstyne, Texas, and Patrick Charles Van Fossen of McKinney, Texas, involved five vehicles in a chain reaction.

A couple of witnesses who saw the dangerous situation called emergency services. Several of the witnesses who almost hit the equipment pulled over, hoping to see help arrive before disaster occurred. One woman who spoke to investigators said she saw the horrific crash, when an 18-wheeler struck the construction equipment, killing the two occupants instantly. The big rig then crashed into the vehicles that had pulled to the side of the road. No other injuries were reported at the scene. The woman said the accident was completely avoidable, since the equipment should not have been over the median.

According to police, the machinery struck the driver, Fossen, when it penetrated the cab of the 18-wheeler. Paredes was in the sleeper berth, which was ripped off of the cab. She was thrown onto the highway.

JAR Construction is allegedly the company responsible for the equipment that caused the deadly crash. The company released a statement saying they are conducting an investigation and cooperating fully with various authorities with the government. They also expressed that their prayers and thoughts are with the victims and their families.

–Guest Contributor

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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 Contract Worker Dies in a Struck-By Accident at the ExxonMobil Refinery in Beaumont, Texas

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Goodhue Building, Beaumont, Texas. Notice the ...

Goodhue Building, Beaumont, Texas. Notice the penthouse on top. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday, December 1, 2017, at Exxon’s Beaumont, Texas, refinery, contract worker Yesenia Espinoza, age 31, was fatally injured. The mother of two daughters, ages 6 and 1, was accidentally struck by a 24-inch pipe while working at the Beaumont ExxonMobil Corp refinery. She was on a project to build a SCANfining unit when the pipe allegedly fell and hit her on the head. According to a spokesperson for ExxonMobil, Espinoza was employed by Echo Maintenance LLC, which routinely does construction work for refineries and chemical plants.

Sources say that in May 2016, there was another incident in which a contract worker died at the same Beaumont refinery after being struck by a pipe.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recently identified four leading workplace hazards, and struck-by hazards are among them. The other three leading causes of on-the-job fatalities are falls, caught-in or –between hazards, and electrocution. Collectively, all four are the direct causes of 90% of all construction deaths in the U.S. Employers have a responsibility to provide safe workplace environments.

OSHA posted a struck-by online course designed specifically for individuals with safety responsibilities, including:

  • Superintendents
  • Crew Leaders
  • Construction Managers
  • Employers
  • Foreman
  • Construction Workforce

The key benefits and features of the safety course include the following:

  • Understand what employers are required to do to protect workers
  • Know ways to protect yourself from struck-by hazards
  • Contact your employer, safety coordinator, or supervisor with further questions.

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 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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Workers in Austin, Texas, Learn They are Among 200 Potentially Exposed to Asbestos

Monday, November 27th, 2017

Asbestos fibers (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

The NBC affiliate in Austin, Texas, KXAN, conducted an extensive investigation into asbestos exposures. They have released a report alleging that up to 200 people have been exposed to asbestos during demolition activity in city buildings. In a specific incident, more than a dozen employees at a water utilities building were exposed to asbestos during a job in which they pulled down a ceiling and removed furniture. There had been a request for approval of the job, but the work commenced weeks early and without a response. Several of the employees at the site were not provided with proper protective equipment. Understandably, many of them are now in fear regarding their health, having been told that they may have been exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos is a name for six naturally occurring minerals that offer tremendous benefits in the production of numerous commercial products, including building materials. Before it was fully recognized that asbestos is deadly, it was widely used in buildings and in many products across the U.S. Asbestos minerals are fibrous. When handled, the fine asbestos fibers can break apart, become airborne, and enter the lungs. Asbestos causes a number of deadly diseases, including cancer. No level of asbestos exposure is safe.

When old buildings that contain asbestos are going to be torn down, special procedures need to be taken, first to determine whether materials containing asbestos will be disturbed during the project. If there is a possibility of exposure, precautions must be taken to protect workers and anyone else who may be in the area when asbestos is disturbed. Only licensed individuals are allowed to disturb asbestos, and the environment must be contained.

All workers have a right to be protected against workplace injuries and life-threatening disease. Mishandling of asbestos comes with serious penalties, including jail time.

–Guest Contributor

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Two Houston, Texas, Contractors Suffer Electrical Injuries after a Workplace Explosion

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

English: Electrical burns may show erythema an...

English: Electrical burns may show erythema and bullae from the heat of arcing current or may be non-descript with severe internal damage between the points of contact and exit of the current. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An explosion occurred in Houston, Texas, on November 10, 2017, as three contractors worked on an electrical breaker at Whitehall hotel in the 1700 block of Smith. One contractor suffered significant injuries, another worker’s hand was injured, and the third escaped injury when the blast occurred. The contractors were underground at the time of the blast.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure safety when electrical work is being done. All employees should be trained and understand the threats involved when working with electricity. The U. S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides employers with safety guidelines designed to prevent workers from becoming injured when performing work involving exposure to electricity.

Resource material from OSHA providing training for workers includes a foundational education on the basics of electricity. For instance, the properties of electricity are that it must complete a circuit and it seeks the easiest and “all” paths to ground.

Electrical accidents can be deadly. Electricity causes three basic types of burns, all of which can be produced at the same time:

  • Electrical burns occur when an electric current flows in the tissues of the body. Such burns can either be skin deep or affect tissues all the way to the muscles and bones. When the electrical shock a person is struck by is high, the body is unable to dissipate the heat, which results in a slow-to-heal electrical burn.
  • Arc burns occur as a result of high temperatures produced by explosions close to the body or electric arcs.
  • Thermal contact burns are usually the result of skin coming into contact with hot surfaces of overheated conduits, electric conductors, or other types of energized equipment.

–Guest Contributor

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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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