Texas Has A Dismal Workplace Death Rate Observes Austin Injury Lawyer Brooks Schuelke
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) November 1, 2013 – Every year the death toll for Texas construction workers climbs. In 2012, there were over 500 work-related fatalities, up 20 percent from 2011.
“Working construction in Texas can be deadly,” states Austin injury lawyer, Brooks Schuelke, of Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP. “And, a quick look at the most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) shows a steady increase, year-over-year of workplace deaths.”
The preliminary figures released by the DOL reveal the most dangerous job in Texas is driving tractor-trailer trucks and other heavy commercial vehicles. This likely comes as no surprise to many, given the increase in big rig deaths on Texas highways over the last decade. In 2012, the number of deaths involving 18-wheelers and other heavy commercial trucks, jumped by 57 percent in 2012, showing 77 fatal accidents in 2011 and 121 in 2012.
Following closely behind trucking industry deaths were construction trade workers, with 59 deaths in 2011 and 82 in 2012. Clearly, there are many safety issues that are not being addressed sufficiently to protect workers on the job. Statistically speaking, the death rate for construction laborers is 10.7 per 100,000 workers, which is substantially higher than the national average.
“Many industry pundits feel the reasons for the dismal safety record are lack of proper training, fear of workplace retaliation for reporting issues, and no worker’s compensation coverage. In fact, a survey conducted by the Workers Defense Project (WDP) and the University of Texas, discovered roughly 60 percent of workers did not get OSHA-certified construction safety training,” Schuelke added.
Another issue relating to workplace safety is that workers are often not given access to, or provided with the right type of protective equipment to perform their jobs. Factor in a lack of worker’s compensation, as Texas is the only state which does not mandate that contractor/employers carry worker’s compensation, and low wages and it becomes a recipe for potential disaster —- an accident looking for a place to happen.
During the last legislative session, legislators introduced House Bill 475,which relates to requiring worker’s compensation coverage for building and construction contractors. However, the bill went nowhere,” said Schuelke. “As a result, this area of the law continues to be very complicated. Should a worker be injured on a construction site, due to the negligence of another, make certain to contact an experienced injury lawyer.”
Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP
206 East 9th Street, Ste. 1511
Austin, TX 78701
Call (512) 476-4944
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