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Texas workers are more likely to die than workers in any other state
While the state of Texas may be a strong economic engine, growth does not tell the whole story. More workers die here than in any other state. Federal data concluded that a Texas worker is 12% more likely to be killed on the job than someone doing the same job elsewhere. Over a 10-year period, 4,593 Texas workers died, and in 2016 alone, there were 545 deaths reported to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). Data from 2017 found that every 16 hours, a worker in Texas died on the job. The causes of death ranged from asphyxiation, electrocution, exposure to toxins, falls, heat stroke, automobile collisions and equipment malfunctions.
According to a report by Houston-based Fe y Justicia Worker Center, from February 2017 through March 2019 workers reported an alarming $1.36 million in stolen wages, along with health and safety violations ranging from lack of bathroom breaks to amputations from flesh-eating bacteria. This report stated that Texas’ largest city (Houston) saw more worker deaths than either the Los Angeles or Chicago metro areas.
Some accidents are nearly impossible to anticipate or prevent. The issue with Texas workforce deaths, however, is that half of the deaths reported are 100% preventable. The death toll concluded from workers dying on the job exceeds the number of murders in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Austin combined. Falling from roofs, asphyxiations, and dying in trenches are completely preventable tragedies. The report by the Justicia Worker Center pointed to policy failures in Texas. Here, only Dallas and Austin have passed local ordinances mandating breaks for construction workers. In other cities, bosses are not required to provide rest breaks, even with the extreme heat.
Dallas Work-Related Deaths
In recent years, fatal accidents in North Texas have been rising with accidents ranging from a worker falling through a 50 ft skylight in Celina to a worker tragically dying from heat exhaustion while roofing in blistering hot 100-degree weather. An analysis of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Department (OSHA) data reported that from January 1, 2017, to September 24, 2018; 52 people died in the construction industry, 77 workers in the landscaping industry, and 64 in the roofing industry.
Dangerous Jobs in Texas
Workplace fatalities can occur in any industry, but some are more prevalent than others. Statistics regarding on-the-job-deaths provide insight on the hazardous conditions that certain workers face every day.
According to the TDI, in 2017 the industry subsectors in Texas that experienced the highest number of fatal occupational industries were trade, transportation, and utilities with a combined 148 incidents, which accounted for 28% of all incidents. This is an increase from 2016 in both the total number of incidents (140) and percent of total incidents (26%). The industry with the second-highest number of fatal work injuries was construction with 133 incidents, which accounted for 25% of all incidents.
With economic growth comes more construction projects. In fact, construction plays a huge role in Texas’ booming economy. However, Texas construction sites are 22% more deadly than the national average. 40% of Texas’ excess death total was in specialty construction trades, such as roofers and electricians. Most of these specialty tradesmen are treated as independent contractors, leaving them responsible for their own training and safety equipment.
Higher death rates among workers who are considered “independent contractors” are no coincidence. Companies hiring independent contractors are not held to the same standard of accountability for the safety of their workplace and OSHA does not investigate workplace deaths involving independent contractors.
The Texas System
Texas is considered the “Wild West” and that applies in all aspects, including the culture here. Political agendas are against overregulation, favoring free-enterprise. Simply put, many Texans do not want to be told how to work or how to manage the workplace. Texas is one of the hardest places to organize unions and ranks the 4th lowest union representation in the country, which typically promote work safety. Along with this, the state has no occupational safety inspection agency.
The Texas Tribune reported that at a half-million Texas workers have no occupational insurance coverage, either from state-approved workers’ compensation plans or from the private equivalent. Although people who suffer from workplace accidents can sue employers who have no workers’ compensation insurance, many times, there is no one to sue and no money to recover.
Texas Employee Fatality Demographics (2017)
- Men accounted for 93% of work fatalities
- 45% of occupational fatal injuries happened to employees between the ages of 45-64
- 45% White (Non-Hispanic), 41% Hispanic or Latino, 11% Black or African-American, 2% Asian
- 83% of fatal work-injuries involved wage and salary employees and 17% Self-Employed
Top Causes of Death
1ST TRANSPORTATION ACCIDENTS are the leading cause of fatal work injuries, accounting for a whopping 45% of deaths.
2ND FALLS, SLIPS & TRIPS
3RD CONTACT WITH OBJECT AND EQUIPMENT
Workers Compensation in Texas
Texas is the only state that doesn’t require workers’ compensation insurance for private employers. This results in employers not being held liable for the well-being of their employees. If you are injured at work, it is important to retain a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. They will be able to check your employer’s status as a subscriber or non-subscriber and help determine the compensatory process.
Can I Hold My Employer Liable?
After a work-related death or injury, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation. While this is the general rule, there are several instances where you may be able to recoup other damages including:
- Defective Products
- Employer Negligence
- No Worker’ Compensation Insurance
- 3rd Party Caused Injury
- Toxic Substances
Employer Negligence Includes:
- Bad Hiring
- Inadequate Training
- Poor Supervision
Worker Fatality Lawyers. We will fight for You! Call (844) 308-8180
At Thompson Law, we fight for families who have lost a loved one due to the negligence of an employer. We know there is nothing more painful than losing a loved one, especially while on the job. At work, you are supposed to be protected and you fully expect your spouse, child or parent to come home safe every day. While some compensation is recoverable through a workers’ compensation claim, this will never be enough to truly cover the extent of your loss.
If your loved one has lost their life while on the job, our team of wrongful death attorneys will help you fight to protect the interests of your family. We will investigate all circumstances surrounding the death of your loved one and provide aggressive legal representation to make sure that the employer is held accountable. You need a law lion to protect you! Contact Thompson Law for a free consultation at (844) 308-8180.
We serve injured workers nationwide. We are available to speak 24/7 365 to discuss your legal options. No appointment is necessary during normal business hours. We have bilingual staff members available to assist our Spanish-speaking clients