Texas Construction Workers Face Dangerous Conditions
Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) June 12, 2013 - A new study finds that Texas has the worst record in the nation for construction safety and construction accident deaths.
A report released from Workers Defense Project and the University of Texas – Austin found that construction workers in Texas are dying from work-related accidents at double the rate of construction workers in California. The study, “Build a Better Texas," released in January 2013, states that the Texas construction industry experienced 10.7 deaths in 2010 per 100,000 workers. The U.S. overall rate in 2010 was 8.8 per 100,000 workers.
"The numbers are quite concerning," commented Waxahachie personal injury attorney John Hale. "It is extremely important for workers in the construction industry to be aware of their workplace's safety record and, when needed, push for better conditions."
The report also states that between 2003 and 2010, while Texas construction jobs made up roughly 6 percent of state employment, construction-related deaths were a whopping 26 percent of overall workplace fatalities in the state.
According to the study, at least 1 in 5 Texas construction workers are injured badly enough on the job that they require medical care, and, in many cases, hospitalization. With twenty percent of Texas construction workers ending up hospitalized, safety advocates are calling for an overhaul of safety regulations and inspections at construction sites. Texas is the only state in the U.S. which does not have mandatory workers’ compensation insurance in place.
Though they are a mere 6 percent of the state's workforce, according to hospital data, construction workers account for almost 20 percent of work-based injuries with uncompensated care costs in emergency rooms across the state. The lack of workers’ compensation to cover bills for these low-wage jobs means that ultimately the cost is placed on hospitals and taxpayers.
Texas also lacks a state Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) law which would supplement the federal OSHA program, the report states. Texas has a ratio of one OSHA inspector per every 103,899 workers; California, for example, has one OSHA inspector per 52,416 workers.
Construction workers report that they experience a number of workplace issues, including: dangerous and deadly conditions; a high incidence of workplace injuries; a lack of basic training (60 percent reported that they had never received even basic safety instruction); and poverty-level wages. More than 50 percent of the workers surveyed reported that they do not earn enough to support their families, while 22 percent reported that they sometimes were not paid. Fifty percent reported not being paid for overtime work. Researchers also found numerous safety violations on virtually every work site they examined.
Until state and federal agencies in charge of enforcing safety and wage regulations have better resources, the majority of Texas construction workers may not get the safe working conditions and wages to which they are legally entitled.
The Hale Law Firm
100 Executive Court, Suite 3
Waxahachie, TX 75165
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