One In Five Texas Construction Workers Land In Hospital Due To Job Injuries
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) August 13, 2013 – Injuries on-the-job are at an all time high in Texas.
“With such a large industry, one would think there would be more safety consciousness on the job. This is not always the case,” said Austin injury lawyer Brooks Schuelke, with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P. “Construction is a $54 billion-per-year industry and there are millions of laborers on worksites across the state. Many are undocumented immigrants.”
The high number of undocumented workers has been identified as the reason for low wages, wage fraud and the astronomically high number of workplace accidents. The number of accidents and workplace conditions has been examined by the Workers Defense Project (WDP) in Austin.
The WDP revealed another insidious practice that has a significant impact on Texas construction workers: misclassification into the role of independent contractors, not company employees. This approach to hiring means a company is then only paying for their business services and not their labor. However, by law, the workers are employees.
“Many companies do this to avoid shelling out payroll taxes, Social Security taxes, overtime or workers’ compensation,” added Schuelke. Aside from the nearly $7 billion dollars in wages being lost each year due to improperly classified construction workers, the question of what happens to a worker who is seriously hurt on the job, or killed is crucial.
Statistics indicate that more construction workers die in the Lone Star State than in any other state. In fact, WDP says there were 10.7 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2010 — twice the number of fatalities than in California, at 5.2. “The overall rate for the nation as a whole was 8.8 in 2010, so you can see deaths in the construction niche in Texas are disproportionate to other locations,” Schuelke pointed out.
Texas is the only state that does not have mandatory workers’ compensation. That means hospitals and taxpayers pay the bills when an injured worker needs medical care, but they have no coverage in any form. “While there are some construction firms that do have coverage of some sort for their workers, the vast majority of subcontractors do not. Workers hurt on the job need to speak to an experienced Austin injury lawyer. They do have options and they may be able to obtain compensation for their injuries. If negligence was the reason for an accident, someone must be held accountable,” stated Schuelke.
Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP
206 East 9th Street, Ste. 1511
Austin, TX 78701
Call (512) 476-4944
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