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Auto Manufacturing In Texas: What Are The Costs To Workers?

Manufacturing used to be the backbone of the American economy. Times have changed, and while U.S. workers are still hard at work making products, they are consistently seeing their jobs being shipped overseas to cheaper labor.

Those with manufacturing jobs also have to worry about workplace injuries. Manufacturing plays host to thousands of workplace injuries every single year.

In Texas, we still have a strong manufacturing sector, due in large part to the automobile industry.

Auto Manufacturing in Texas

Texas has the seventh largest number of automotive manufacturing jobs in the nation. The sector has grown by nearly 30 percent since 2010. General Motors, Peterbilt and Caterpillar currently operate plants across Texas. Last year, Toyota broke ground on their new North American headquarters in Plano.

The automotive industry is proving to be big business in Texas. That’s good news for our state’s economy, and it’s certainly good news for those seeking employment in auto manufacturing. But with more manufacturing comes a greater potential for workplace injuries. Workers are hoping that their employers will make workplace safety the highest priority.

Common Auto Plant Injuries

As is the case with every subset of the manufacturing sector, autoworkers can suffer serious injuries due to contact with heavy equipment. This includes being caught in or between equipment, and being struck by or against equipment. Amputations and loss of limbs in the workplace often occur because of accidents relating to heavy machinery. It is for this reason that extensive training and equipment safety inspections are of the utmost importance in the manufacturing sector.

Falls, slips and trips are another common form of injury in every workplace, including manufacturing. These accidents occur because of slick floors, unstable surfaces, loose tiles, broken flooring, broken guardrails and cluttered walkways.

Repetitive Stress Injuries in Manufacturing

While we often think of workplace injuries as being the result of a single incident, so many workplace injuries are actually caused in a much more subtle manner. Repetitive stress injuries occur over a long period of time after repeated motions or impact while performing certain tasks on the job. Their onset can be slow and, in some cases, difficult to detect until permanent damage has already been done.

Repetitive stress injuries include

  • Hand/wrist injuries – Carpal tunnel syndrome, dupuytren’s contracture and ganglion are just a few examples of serious hand and wrist injuries. These injuries can lead to crippling of the fingers, hand and wrist, resulting in disability and loss of work capacity.
  • Back injuries – Repetitive motions or tasks can also lead to fractures, disc injuries or muscle damage in the lower, middle and upper back.
  • Tendonitis – Tears and inflammation to various tendons throughout the body can be the result of constant, repetitive motions performed while on the job.

Causes of Repetitive Stress Injuries

  • Repetitive Motions
  • Constant force from a certain task or piece of equipment
  • Awkward posture caused by a task
  • Heavy, repetitive lifting.

The Costs to Workers

These injuries can leave workers with incredible repercussions in their daily lives. Workers may face medical bills, ongoing treatment, diminished or complete loss of work capacity, and loss of income for time missed at work. Workers’ compensation benefits are intended to help workers with the expenses that they encounter because of workplace injuries, though it is not uncommon for the real costs and damages to greatly exceed the payments they receive from their employers.

Have You Been Injured On the Job?

If you have suffered an injury while on the job, Guajardo & Marks can help. We have represented many clients who are seeking for fair compensation from their employers. We will fight for you to make sure that you are being treated fairly. Contact us today for a free consultation.