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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’

An On-Duty Texas Police Officer is Struck by an Alleged Drunk Driver

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

(Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On July 7, 2017, in Fort Worth, Texas, Officer Matt Lesell was on the side of a Texas highway, having pulled over a vehicle at about 3 a.m. As he was walking up to the car, his dash cam video shows that a car crashed into him and the other vehicle. Lesell survived the crash. He can be seen walking away from the crash scene, though hobbled. The officer is hoping to use his experience as a way to highlight the hazards of drunk driving.

Lesell pointed out that Texas has a law called “Slow Down and Move Over.” Motorists are required by law to slow down when they are going to drive past transportation workers and police, fire, and emergency vehicles on the side of the road. This information is found on the website of the Texas Department of Transportation.

Employers have a duty to ensure that workers have a safe workplace environment. Texas laws obviously attempt to make things safer for police officers and those in emergency services. Another related law is that fines in construction zones are doubled, when drivers violate the speed limit or other laws.

A similar incident happened to Houston, Texas, police officers in July. They were investigating a possible incident involving driving while intoxicated (DWI). Another vehicle came along as they were investigating, and the car veered toward them. Firefighters screamed out warnings to the police officers. Both of the police officers ultimately fell over the ledge of the freeway, which was about a 20-foot drop. The officers landed in a grass area; neither had broken bones from falling.

All motorists have a responsibility to keep others safe in roadway work places. Police officers are often put at risk, since their workplace is often the side of a road.

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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Investigation into Deadly Roadway Construction Incident in Amarillo, Texas, Continues

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

English: Afghan construction workers work on a...

English: Afghan construction workers work on a road construction project in Mahmood Rahqi, Afghanistan in 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tragedy occurred in a road construction work zone the morning of June 10, 2017. The 16-foot flatbed trailer that was attached to a pickup truck became detached, rolled at a fast pace through a construction site, and crashed into road crew members and paving equipment. Three of the workers died and two workers were injured. Not all details have emerged, because of the pending investigation. For instance, no comments have been made with regard to whether or not the truck driver was following state laws when he hitched the trailer. When asked if safety chains were attached, a spokesperson with the Amarillo Police Department wouldn’t comment about that.

It’s believed that either a pin broke or came loose, causing the trailer to become detached and lose control. The three workers who were killed when the trailer struck the paving equipment were 36-year-old Jorge Noe Catano, 59-year-old Ygnacio Rodriquez, and 63-year-old Julian Zamora. All were pronounced dead at the scene, which was I-40 eastbound east of Whitaker Road. The road construction injuries were suffered by 21-year-old Eddie Erinco and 59-year-old David Huddleston. All of the men were working for J. Lee Milligan, who works with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), doing road work.

Lee Milligan and TxDOT came up with new strategies to improve work site safety in highway construction zones. At the location where the fatal workplace accident occurred, an additional lane on the eastbound side of the highway has been closed. Additional signage was put in place to warn motorists of upcoming road work. In addition, speed limit advisor signs were added.

According to Sonja Gross, TxDOT Spokesperson, each project is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with the goal of providing the safest environment possible for workers and the traveling public.

–Guest Contributor


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1 Worker Dies and Another is Critically Injured in an Electrical Accident

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Landscape of the skyline of Lubbock, Texas tak...

Landscape of the skyline of Lubbock, Texas taken from the shoulder of Interstate 27. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A fatal workplace accident occurred on Saturday, January 21, 2017, in Lubbock, Texas. At a construction site for a new building, two men were working together when it is believed they made contact with energized lines while drilling into an electrical box. A fire erupted and was quickly ignited. Both construction workers at the scene were burned and had possibly been shocked. They were transported to a nearby hospital, where one of the men died early the next day. The other injured worker is still in critical condition.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will conduct a complete investigation of the employers involved in this fatal workplace incident. It will be determined whether required safety practices were used. Such OSHA rules are designed for the purpose of holding employers accountable when they fail in their fundamental duty to provide workers with a safe workplace environment.

Electrical accidents are not uncommon on construction sites or in other work venues. “Electrical Wiring Methods” was the ninth most frequent type of OSHA violation for fiscal year 2016. There were 1,940 OSHA safety violations in this category. In 2015, there were 464 more electrical workplace violations and this category was the eighth most frequently violated. This was the largest violation decrease in a particular category, which is a very good thing. Obviously, electrical hazards are extremely dangerous.

“General Electrical Requirements” was the category that was tenth most frequently cited by OSHA in 2016, with 1,704 violations issued. This category focuses on proper use and installation of electrical equipment and conductors.

If employers in this tragic workplace accident are found by OSHA to have failed in electrical safety procedures, they will face penalties.

–Guest Contributor

 


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A Female Construction Worker is San Antonio Crushed by a Backhoe

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

A CONSTRUCTION WORKER DRILLS THROUGH SOLID ROC...

A CONSTRUCTION WORKER DRILLS THROUGH SOLID ROCK ALONG ESCOWEE STREET ON THE BANK OF THE CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER PRIOR TO… – NARA – 557735 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 19-year-old woman was killed at a construction site in San Antonio, Texas, when the bucket of a backhoe was dropped on top of her. The shocking workplace fatality occurred on the morning of Monday, January 23, 2017. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, and the foreman who was driving the backhoe and said he didn’t see the woman was hospitalized, most likely for shock, according to Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Roger Pedraza.

The deceased was a construction worker at the construction site, which is on Potranco Road in the 13700 block. Police were called at about 10:30 am and reported that the woman had been crushed to death by the backhoe.

At least two dozen members of the accident victims’ family went to the site. According to one of the victim’s siblings, her sister had been injured at the construction site the previous week. Allegedly, the same backhoe operator knocked her in the leg with the machine, giving her a bruise about the size of a grapefruit. The sibling also claimed that her sister had complained about lack of adherence to safety guidelines on the worksite.

A construction worker at the scene who has been at the site for about a month alleged that the same foreman involved in this deadly accident was frequently careless on the job, resulting in a lot of broken pipes.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure a safe workplace environment. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be conducting an investigation, prompted by this tragedy. If the employer is found to be in violation of safety guidelines, the company will be cited and will face proposed penalties. OSHA penalties have just been increased for the first time in a quarter century. The new amounts have the potential to seriously impact small businesses, which will hopefully serve to motivate employers to improve worker safety procedures. This tragic construction fatality in San Antonio was allegedly a senseless, preventable act.

–Guest Contributor


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OSHA Proposed $104K in Fines against a San Antonio, Texas, Company

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

The San Antonio (Texas) Downtown

The San Antonio (Texas) Downtown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has been since this summer that Bluebonnet Foods L.P. was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for 21 alleged serious safety violations, but the citations are worth looking at. Employers have a responsibility to protect workers by providing them with a safe workplace. OSHA Area Director for San Antonio Alejandro Porter said workers at Bluebonnet Foods were exposed to health and safety hazards that should be corrected without delay before employees get hurt unnecessarily. Among the alleged serious violations were that workers were exposed to several chemical, struck-by, amputation, and electrical hazards. In addition, eyewash stations needed to be installed and personal protective equipment needed to be provided. The total in proposed penalties was: $104,000.

Bluebonnet Foods is doing business as Goodheart Specialty Foods Co., and the company employs about 300 people at the San Antonio location. Bluebonnet Foods produces grilled, fried, and slow-roasted meats, sauces and other products for the food service, retail, and food manufacturing industry under their DBA.

The following is specific information about two alleged serious OSHA violations:

Employees who were sanitizing production areas and diluting cleaning products with caustic and corrosive liquids were allegedly exposed to chemical splash hazards without adequate protective coverings such as gloves, aprons, or chemical resistant full body protection. The proposed penalty for this alleged serious violation was: $7,000.

Employees in the maintenance shop were allegedly exposed to a struck-by hazard as they were operating a Porter Cable drill press that did not have a chip guard. The proposed penalty for this alleged serious OSHA violation was: $4,000.

Learn about more alleged serious violations that Bluebonnet Foods was cited for in an installment of this series entitled, “San Antonio Company is Cited by OSHA for Struck-By Hazards and More.”

–Guest Contributor


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A Houston Company is Cited by OSHA for 25 Alleged Serious Violations

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Aerial of the Texas Medical Center, an area in...

Aerial of the Texas Medical Center, an area in the Southeast Houston district. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued citations with proposed penalties amounting to $106,700 to a Houston-based company on August 1, 2016. La Espiga de Oro Inc. is a tortilla factory located at 1202 W 15th Street in Houston, Texas. The inspection of the company’s facilities was initiated by a complaint regarding unsafe working conditions. Steve DeVine, the assistance OSHA area director in Houston’s North office, said that with 25 serious violations, the company clearly needs to take the responsibility of employee safety more seriously.

Among the 25 alleged serious violations are the following:

  • Amputation hazards
  • Struck-by and caught-in hazards
  • Extreme heat
  • Electrical hazards including exposed energized electrical parts
  • Fall hazards

The following are more details about some of the alleged serious OSHA violations committed by La Espiga:

Appropriate facilities for quick flushing or drenching of the eyes and body were allegedly not provided within a work area where employees were exposed to injurious corrosive materials. More specifically, on or about June 20, 2016, in the elevated area of the Corn Process Room, employees handled corrosive materials without suitable facilities for quick flushing or drenching of the eyes. The corrosive materials allegedly exposed the workers to a chemical burn hazard. The proposed penalty for this alleged serious safety violation is: $4,900.

Each floor hole into which employees could accidentally walk was allegedly not guarded. More specifically, employees were exposed to trip and fall hazards when using a stair landing in the elevated area of the corn process room because there was a hole in the steel grating floor that had not been guarded or covered. The proposed penalty for this alleged serious safety violation is: $2,800.

–Guest Contributor


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An Austin Company Faces $113,486 in OSHA Penalties for Alleged Trenching Hazards

Monday, September 12th, 2016

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. Left foreground: a clamshell bucket. Français: Deux pelles hydrauliques sur roues ATLAS, sur un chantier en Allemagne. Excavation d’une tranchée blindée. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As part of a nationwide focus on the dangers of trenching, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspected Austin Constructors LLC in April 2016. As a result of the inspection, OSHA investigators allege that one willful and three serious violations involving trenching hazards were committed by the Austin company. Muniz Concrete and Contracting Inc. was also included in the inspection, as the company responsible for the worksite. Muniz Concrete has been cited for one serious violation associated with trench cave-in dangers. Austin Constructors faces $113,486 in penalties and Muniz Concrete faces $7,857 in penalties.

Casey R. Perkins, Austin’s OSHA area director, said that ever year about 54 worker deaths are associated with excavations. Employers know better and Perkins expressed his relief that the companies were sited before an employee suffered a workplace fatality or serious workplace injury.

The following are some details about one of the safety violations Austin Constructors allegedly committed:

Investigators allege that on or about April 28, 2016, and at times prior, workers were performing excavation operations in a trench where the underground utility installations were not supported. This exposed employees to the danger of being trapped in an excavation collapse. More specifically, OSHA claims that two workers were in the Northwest extension of the trench underneath and near unsupported utility lines encasement. The same was alleged to be true of two workers in the Southwest extension of the trench, as well. The total proposed penalty associated with this alleged serious violation is: $4,988.

Trenches and excavations are extremely dangerous. On Tuesday, August 9, 2016, a construction worker died in Brazoria County, Texas, when a trench collapsed. The victim was part of a crew of workers digging a sewer line trench. The tragic work fatality occurred about 20 miles south of Houston.

–Guest Contributor


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Workers are Allegedly Exposed to Struck-by Hazards at an Alleyton, Texas, Worksite

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

English: A construction crane, Copenhagen airp...

English: A construction crane, Copenhagen airport 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a result of a complaint alleging the working conditions were unsafe at a worksite in Alleyton, Texas, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office in Austin conducted a January 13, 2016, inspection. As a result of the investigation into the status of working conditions, Exterran Energy Solutions LP faces $111,000 in proposed penalties. In addition, South Texas Welders LLC, labor broker, faces $9,800 in penalties. Exterran Energy has been cited for two alleged repeat violations, 23 alleged serious violations, and four alleged other-than-serious violations. South Texas Specialty Welders has been cited for four alleged serious violations.

The following is information about serious violations that Exterran allegedly committed:

According to OSHA investigators, on or about January 13, 2016, and at times prior, workers operating overhead cranes failed to test the upper limit switch under no load at the start of a new shift. This alleged oversight exposed employees to the hazard of being struck by falling loads. The proposed penalty for this alleged violation is: $5,000.

OSHA investigators also allege that, on the same dates referenced above, an alloy steel chain sling with a deformed or cracked coupling link, master link, or other component was not removed from service, as required.  Investigators allege that employees were lifting metal plates that weighed about 28,587 pounds using an alloy steel chain sling with a deformed plate hook. This allegedly exposed employees to struck-by falling load hazards. The proposed penalty for this alleged violation is: $7,000.

See more about OSHA violations allegedly made by two employers in connection with an Alleyton, Texas, worksite in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this continuing series.

–Guest Contributor


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At an Alleyton, Texas, Worksite, Workers are Allegedly Exposed to Forklift Hazards

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Airmain unloading a truck with forklift.

Airmain unloading a truck with forklift. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a result of a complaint alleging the working conditions were unsafe at a worksite in Alleyton, Texas, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office in Austin conducted a January 13, 2016, inspection. As a result of the investigation into the status of working conditions, Exterran Energy Solutions LP faces $111,000 in proposed penalties. In addition, South Texas Welders LLC, labor broker, faces $9,800 in penalties. Exterran Energy has been cited for two alleged repeat violations, 23 alleged serious violations, and four alleged other-than-serious violations. South Texas Specialty Welders has been cited for four alleged serious violations.

The following is information about serious violations that Exterran allegedly committed:

According to OSHA investigators, on or about January 13, 2016, and at times prior, employees were allegedly exposed to hazards associated with forklifts becoming dangerously unstable, which might involve jarring of operator, load falling, tipping over of forklift, as a few examples. Investigators said forklift operators were transporting materials to and from storage and work areas where large potholes exist along the path they were required to travel. The proposed penalty for this alleged violation is: $3,000.

OSHA investigators also allege that, on the same dates referenced above, employees were exposed to the hazard of being struck by falling loads and equipment. A spreader bar of unknown origin with no test load documentation was allegedly used to lift steel plates weighing up to about 18,377 pounds in the layout area. The proposed penalty for this alleged violation is: $7,000.

See more about OSHA violations allegedly made by two employers in connection with an Alleyton, Texas, worksite in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this continuing series.

–Guest Contributor


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Exterran Energy Solutions Faces $111,000 in OSHA Fines

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

English: A guy stick welding.

English: A guy stick welding. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a result of a complaint alleging the working conditions were unsafe at a worksite in Alleyton, Texas, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office in Austin conducted a January 13, 2016, inspection. As a result of the investigation into the status of working conditions, Exterran Energy Solutions LP faces $111,000 in proposed penalties. In addition, South Texas Welders LLC, labor broker, faces $9,800 in penalties. Exterran Energy has been cited for two alleged repeat violations, 23 alleged serious violations, and four alleged other-than-serious violations. South Texas Specialty Welders has been cited for four alleged serious violations.

The following is information about serious violations that Exterran allegedly committed:

According to OSHA investigators, on or about January 13, 2016, and at times prior, a worker was operating a metal plasma cutter but did not have the required shaded eye protection. This allegedly exposed the worker to the hazard of light radiation. The proposed penalty for this alleged violation is: $5,000.

Workers were allegedly exposed to an asphyxiation hazard on or about January 13, 2016, and at times prior. OSHA investigators say that employees welding inside units or vessels were provided with personal gas monitors that had not been calibrated through bump testing prior to the day’s use. The proposed penalty for this alleged violation is: $5,000.

On the same dates above-mentioned, OSHA investigators say that energy control procedures were not being utilized at the facility as required. Instead of being specific to machines, generic procedures were used. Because of this, workers performing maintenance on the bending rolls, the plasma cutter, and iron worker were allegedly exposed to struck-by, caught-in, and electrical hazards. The proposed penalty for this alleged violation is: $4,000.

See more about OSHA violations allegedly made by two employers in connection with an Alleyton, Texas, worksite in Part 1 and Part 2.

–Guest Contributor


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