OSHA Says Texas Construction Companies Have a Lax Safety Culture

It might come as a surprise to some, but construction workers know all too well just how dangerous their work sites can be. Even casual observers of the news are accustomed to seeing headlines about scaffolding collapses or construction worker injuries on sites in Texas.

The fact is, construction work is more dangerous than many other types of occupations. About one-fifth of all workplace fatalities occur in construction. One study conducted between 2003 and 2008 found that construction leads all industries in the occurrence of traumatic brain injuries.

One might simply attribute these facts to the nature of the job. After all, construction workers are doing their jobs around heavy equipment, often at heights that would make most of us terrified. But, we shouldn’t simply resign ourselves to the fact that these types of jobs are just more dangerous. In fact, the alarming number of injuries and fatalities in the construction sector should prompt us to call for more safety measures in order to protect construction workers from the hazards present in their line of work.

This is especially true in Texas, where the construction sector has been notoriously lax on taking care of their employees.

Yes, the Problem Is Particularly Bad in Texas

If you don’t want to take our word for it, there has been plenty said on the issue of construction worker hazards in our state. The problem reached such great heights that, in 2015, David Michaels of Occupational Safety and Health Administration singled out construction companies in Texas. Michaels said:

“More construction workers in Texas die on the job than in any other state…. Workers are not being given adequate protection.”

That’s a pretty direct indictment of the safety culture among Texas construction companies. Michaels made these comments following a trench collapse that killed a worker in 2015. The numbers back up his assertion regarding Texas construction work. In 2014, the Dallas Morning News found that Texas construction sites were a full 22 percent deadlier than other construction sites around the country.

To make matters worse for employees in construction, only 40 percent of Texas construction firms carry workers’ compensation insurance, which isn’t required by state law.

Where Does That Leave Construction Workers?

So, just to recap, not only is construction work a difficult job, it is a dangerous one, too. And not only is construction dangerous, but it is even more so in Texas. And when workers are injured on the job in Texas, there is a very good chance they won’t have the same financial protection that they would be afforded in other parts of the country.

This picture is not a pretty one for construction workers in Texas. If you’d like to become even more concerned for the safety of construction workers, if that is at all possible, then you can also look to the fact that Texas, and Dallas in particular, is adding a large number of construction jobs to accommodate a growing population. This means that, unless something is done, more and more people in Texas are going to be put in harm’s way thanks to the lax safety culture in our state.