Texas Construction Sites Need to Ensure Worker Safety
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) June 11, 2013 – Construction workers in Texas face dangerous conditions on work sites across the state.
“It’s well known that since the construction industry in Texas started to quickly revive, that workers are dealing with a number of workplace issues ---- labor rights violations, poor wages, improper or no training and dangerous work sites,” explained Austin injury lawyer Brooks Schuelke, with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P.
Texas leads the nation in the number of fatal construction worker accidents. While there are some protections afforded these laborers, they do not adequately address the level of danger workers face on the job.
“Overall, there is a dearth of employers making work site improvements to address safety issues, and that often includes proper safety training, providing the proper safety equipment to perform their jobs and being fully briefed and properly advised about health issues in the workplace, such as how to file a worker’s compensation claim if there is an accident,” outlined Schuelke.
Worker’s compensation is vitally important to those working in construction, as it is designed to pay any medical expenses as a result of being injured on the job and to replace lost wages until they can return to work. The spouses of those killed on the job are also entitled to a portion of the deceased workers lost wages. “While all this sounds good, in theory, in practice, more than 60 percent of fatalities on the job in Texas receive no worker’s compensation benefits,” stated Schuelke.
Why is this? Texas is the only state in America that does not mandate worker’s compensation for private companies and most of them do not carry any other kind of coverage to replace it. That means a high number of contractors do not have worker’s compensation coverage, forcing injured workers or those killed on the job, to go to court.
“Consider the case of a Houston construction worker who was installing insulation on a commercial project. He was not wearing fall-protection gear, nor was he secured to the scaffolding he was perched on. He fell off the roof, landing on metal planks. He was paralyzed from the neck down. He had no benefits and nearly $900,000 in medical bills. It wiped his family finances out completely,” Schuelke explained.
Is there hope on the horizon for workers in situations such as this one? There may be if House Bill 475 is passed. It mandates all construction companies to carry compensation insurance for workers. “In the meantime, the only other alternative to seek compensation is to speak with an injury lawyer. My door is always open to workers and families in need of legal counsel relating to an accident on the job in Texas,” added Schuelke.
Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP
206 East 9th Street, Ste. 1511
Austin, TX 78701
Call (512) 476-4944
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