Personal injury lawyer explains Texas' fatal work injury statistics
Written by Brian Beckcom
Texas leads the nation for fatal work incidents. Two reasons this is important:
This is not the first year Texas has topped the list for work fatalities.
Texas workers need to take extra care to prevent injuries on the job.
Each year, a large amount of federal and state data is released about work injuries and deaths. These statistics and numbers are an important source of information about dangerous industries and where the most attention is needed to prevent injuries and deaths in the future. To help you understand the scope of fatal work-related accidents in Texas, where they are happening, and why, we’ve put together this highlight of some of the most recent statistics available.
The statistics for fatal work accidents in Texas
In 2014, Texas remained at the top of the list of states for fatal work incidents. For work accidents that caused a death, the Texas Department of Insurance showed that:
Transportation accidents were the leading cause of fatal work injuries, accounting for 45 percent of reported work-related deaths. In fact, the highest number of work-related fatalities was reported in the transportation and material-moving industries. These industries include the drivers of heavy trucks and tractor-trailers.
Accidents involving “contact with objects” were the second leading cause of on-the-job deaths. Seventy-five percent of these deaths involved a worker being struck with an object, while 17 percent involved workers who were caught in or crushed by equipment, We have helped clients who have been injured by falling cranes, boom lifts, and heavy objects. In these types of cases, we have obtained a $44.37 million verdict for our clients in a case where a rigger was crushed by a heavy pipe at the Exxon refinery in Beaumont.
Falls at work declined by nine percent, making falls the third leading cause of work-related deaths in Texas.
Other causes of workplace deaths included explosions, fires, exposure to harmful substances, and workplace violence.
Who is getting hurt at work?
Although the slightly-decreased number of reported injuries is good news, the bad news is that work injuries still happen every year. In private-sector industries, 52,970 Texas workers were hurt in 2014 and took time off work for their injuries. In 2014, 524 Texas workers were killed on the job. While these numbers include workers of all kinds in all kinds of industries, some potentially surprising statistics show that many of the workers hurt were:
Women. Although most workers who are killed on the job are male, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that fatal work accidents among women are on the rise. From 2013 to 2014, the number of women fatally hurt in work incidents rose 13 percent nationally.
Hispanic and Latino workers. The BLS shows that fatal work injuries among Hispanic and Latino workers fell slightly nationally. However, Hispanic and Latino workers make up a large portion of the workforce in a number of dangerous industries. Statistics compiled in a Workers Defense Project report on Texas construction work conditions showed that Latino workers made up a huge number of the state’s construction workforce. According to their data, about 60 percent of construction workers in Texas have not received health and safety training. And only about 20 percent have sought medical attention for a serious work-related injury.
Long-term employees. Maybe surprisingly, it isn’t always the newest workers who are hurt. According to data from the Texas Department of Insurance, the highest non-fatal accident numbers were reported among those who had worked with their employers for at least one year and up to five years. Numbers fell off slightly among those who have been with an employer for more than five years, but the total was still higher than for employees hurt in the first year of work.
Why are work accidents happening?
Work accidents happen for a number of reasons, and the “whys” of worker injuries and deaths can be very complex. Some potential reasons that preventable work injuries continue to happen every year include:
Increased growth in an industry. As certain industries come and go in Texas, so can the number of work injuries. For example, nationally, the “building boom” has brought in increase in construction accidents and deaths. This increase happened in areas where construction has been on the upswing, such as Austin, Odessa, Midland, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston. In the oil and gas industry, similar upticks in accident numbers are seen when work is booming. Businesses that are experiencing rapid growth can be dangerous to work for. Safety regulations and training may be overlooked in the rush to take advantage of profit opportunities.
Non-compliant employers. Employers don’t always follow rules and regulations, even though most industries are held to a wide range of strict safety rules. Safety training, protective equipment, inspections, and maintenance can be expensive, and the penalties for breaking the rules aren’t always enough.
Lack of safety inspectors. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a limited number of inspectors per state, and many thousands of worksites to monitor in each of those states. While OSHA makes an effort to investigate worksites, especially those in industries that show high injury and fatality numbers, the reality is that there just aren’t enough inspectors to check out every single potentially dangerous workplace.
Contact Our Texas Work Injury Attorneys for a Free Consultation
If you have been hurt at work, or if you are looking for information on behalf of a loved one, don’t wait any longer. Get the information you need about your rights in Texas. Some workers who have suffered because of an employer’s negligence have the right to pursue compensation for their:
time away from work
pain and suffering
other costs related to their injuries
In many situations where you were hurt on the job, consulting a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible is the best way for you to protect your legal rights and to have things go back to normal as soon as possible.
You may be prevented from filing a lawsuit to be compensated for your injuries and losses if you wait for the company to do the right thing. To learn more, or to schedule a free case review, contact the experienced attorneys with VB Attorneys today at 877-724-7800.