Any job has the potential to be dangerous. A pet store clerk who leaves the wrong cage open may find himself cornered by a cute little animal no one imagined would be poisonous. A worker at an ice cream stand may learn the hard way not to unplug the soft-serve machines while barefoot, or a shoe salesman may find that an unbalanced shelf is a lot heavier than it seems. But while common sense and experience work well to keep us safe in most situations, there are always accidents. And in some jobs, accidents are more common than others, for a variety of reasons — from weather, to traffic, unpredictability, or simply the law of averages and frequency of moving heavy equipment.
Workplace Fatalities in Texas
Because of the nature of its economy, its geographic conditions, its brutal weather and numerous other factors, Texas not only has its share of dangerous jobs, but in 2012, according to CBS News, it led the nation in work-related deaths, with 433. Since then the state has dropped out of the top five, but still has its share of workplace fatalities, and the number has gone up. In 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 527 people were victims of work-related deaths. Notably, the majority were workers in natural resources (196) or workers in production and transportation (192).
Nationwide, a 2017 Time Magazine article reports that in 2015 there were a total of 4,836 fatalities in the workplace. Latinos have the highest death rate, by percentage, of any racial group, and men are five times more likely to die as a result of a workplace injury than women.
Most Dangerous Jobs in Texas
Few businesses know more about workplace injuries and fatalities than the insurance companies that insure them. It is the insurance companies that pay the benefits, so it is vital that they keep track of the injuries, if only to secure their rates. Hettler Insurance of Lubbock, Texas, has compiled a list of the most dangerous industries in Texas. They include:
- Agriculture – Texas is the third largest agricultural state in the U.S., according to the FDA, and as a result the industry takes a disproportionate amount of deaths. Most deaths occur because of the operating of heavy machinery.
- Fishing – Fishing has been taking lives since before recorded history. Heavy seas, faulty equipment and other variables make this a dangerous job even in good conditions.
- Aviation – By percentage, this is the third most deadly occupation in Texas. Most accidents occur in small, private planes.
- Truck Drivers – Truck driving is rarely easy. Not only do drivers have to control loads that average in the neighborhood of 13 tons, but must face long monotonous hours and contend with thousands of other drivers on the road.
- Construction – The construction industry has more dangers than most other occupations, and in Texas this is especially true for roofers and steel workers. Oddly, though, one of the leading causes of death in construction does not come from falls or equipment, but from the elements – heat stroke.
- Electric – Part of the job is to fix wires when high winds and bad weather make the lights go out, and electric workers often have to climb to do so.
- Oil and Gas Workers – On average, 39 workers per year die in the oil and gas industry. While robots are replacing workers in many of the jobs, the ones that remain must remain vigilant because of the nature of the jobs.
- Garbage Collectors – It may not seem dangerous, but the combination of heavy equipment and time spent in traffic create horrendous conditions for many of these workers.
Rules are in place both federally and locally with the intention of keeping workers safe. Generally, these rules were created by experts in the field, to mitigate the natural dangers that accompany some occupations. What’s more, enforcement agencies exist to make sure these codes, standards and rules are followed diligently to keep workers safe. However, because of the nature of many jobs, accidents still happen. To stay safe it is often necessary to rely on training, know your environment and take precautions.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident in the workplace, contact Guajardo and Marks of Dallas as soon as possible. The partners of Guajardo and Marks have more than 50 years of legal experience between them, and have the knowledge and resources to help with your legal needs. For questions or to set up an appointment, contact us online or call us at 972.774.9800.