In 2014, 524 Texans were killed in work-related incidents, and an additional 52,970 were hurt. These numbers are a shocking reminder that that too many serious accidents and illnesses are still happening at work every year, both in Texas and around the nation. Even though the harm to workers is often preventable, unsafe work environments and employers “bending the rules” on safety standards are a common reality for many people in the course of their usual workdays. There are a lot of things that can go wrong, and many different types of accidents that can happen, when safety and preventative measures are ignored on the job.
Many common work accidents happen because safety is ignored by employers
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that the following are the most-cited standards after federal inspections of worksites in the United States:
- Fall Protection (1926.501)
- Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
- Scaffolding (1926.451)
- Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
- Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
- Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
- Ladders (1926.1053)
- Electrical, Wiring Methods (1910.305)
- Machine Guarding (1910.212)
- Electrical, General Requirements (1910.303)
See what an actual OSHA citation report looks like, from a work injury case we handled against a demolitions company.
Safety standards, laws, regulations, and policies exist specifically to reduce the chances that someone will get seriously hurt or killed while performing job duties. Some of the most common work accidents are also the most preventable, but workers are still hurt each year in the following kinds of accidents, often related to one or more of the top-ten OSHA citations:
- Falls and falling objects. Unsecured objects, slippery floors, defective safety equipment, and cluttered work environments can cause serious injuries, and there are few work environments where employees are entirely unlikely to slip, fall, or be hurt by falling items and debris.
- Overexertion. When employees are asked to perform difficult physical tasks for long hours, the risk of accidents increases. Someone who is asked to lift a heavy object alone may suffer back or knee injuries, or a tired crane operator working a double shift can make a tragic mistake.
- Repetitive stress injuries. Working in awkward positions, using improper lifting techniques, or performing repetitive tasks can take a toll on workers, who may develop cumulative or repetitive stress injuries over time.
- Machine entanglement and crushing. The machinery and equipment used at work can be responsible for crushed limbs, entanglement, and other tragic injuries, which is why it is so important that both employees and employers follow the rules and use appropriate safeguards.
- Burns, explosions, and electrocution. Fires, explosions, and electrical accidents are high-risk accidents that kill workers and cause life-altering injuries, and employers that don’t take these risks seriously should be held responsible when their negligence leads to a tragedy.
- Work vehicle accidents. Although vehicle accidents at work can happen in many different lines of work, some workers—such as those working on oilfields—may be more vulnerable to transportation accidents.
- Gas leaks and toxic substances. For example, employees can be injured by methyl mercaptan exposure or asbestos exposure.
Employers can do a lot to protect their employees from common hazards, but some employers refuse to even meet the minimum standards for safety. Find out more about how safety violations at work cause employee injuries and what you can do to get help if you’ve been hurt.
Work accidents specific to the type of job
Although the cause of work injuries can be very similar across many different kinds of jobs, work accidents can also be unique to the industry or type of job. In some of the most popular job positions in Texas, workers may have highly specific training, work with specialized equipment, or perform tasks that don’t come up in other lines of work. Some examples might include:
- Logging worksites. For an idea of the unique dangers of the logging industry, read more about the case of a day laborer who suffered a head injury at a timber facility.
- Construction worksites. For example, according to one study, construction workers may have the highest risk of brain injuries at work.
- Oil and gas worksites. Oil & gas jobs often put employees in dangerous environments on oilfields and rigs, but employers don’t always adhere to standards meant to protect their workers, especially when business is booming.
- Industrial plants and refineries. In these complex work environments, which often involve handling toxic substances and dangerous machinery, even a small mistake or oversight can lead to deaths and injuries.
- Railroad jobs. Many rail workers are hurt in the course of their demanding job duties, either in sudden accidents or after years of repetitive labor in hazardous environments or without appropriate protective gear.
Like the kinds of accidents we talked about in the section above, many industry-specific injuries are the result of the employer failing to follow the rules and protect employee safety—sometimes even more so. The most dangerous work environments are usually subject to highly specific rules and regulations, which may range from federal safety laws to individual operating procedures for each piece of equipment or machinery. When employers don’t adhere to all the sometimes-complicated rules for the industry or job duty, employees can be put at extreme risk.
Whether you have been hurt at work in a common accident or under unique circumstances, you should know that you may have the right to hold your employer responsible for ignoring your safety or violating rules and regulations. For more information and a review of your work accident case, please contact us online, start a Live Chat, or call VB Attorneys at 1-877-724-7800.