Auto Manufacturing Booms, but so does the Risk of Injury

Along with a slew of other industries, one of the fastest-growing in Texas the last few years has been the automotive industry.
The General Motors plant in Arlington has been a mainstay of the Texas economy, but with the 2015 announcement of a $1.4 billion expansion, the impact of the plant increased exponentially.

In addition to GM, Toyota, who has operated a manufacturing plant in San Antonio for more than 10 years, is now centralizing their North American operations in Plano. Aside from the plants themselves, this also means additional companies including those that create parts for the plants, as well as other industries, including real estate, that benefit from the additional workers and the additional money poured into the local economy.

An August 2016 article in The Austin American-Statesman newspaper examined some of the impact of the plants. Economist Angelos Angelou, interviewed in the story, suggested the Toyota expansions alone could generate more than $3 to $4 billion in personal income for the state. He states that the auto industry, as of 2014, had 38,000 workers in motor vehicles and parts manufacturing, ranking Texas seventh in the country, up from 10th in 2003, and as of 2014 had added an additional $4.8 billion to the state’s gross domestic product. More job growth is predicted “in the North Texas area such as the Dallas-Forth Worth metroplex or somewhere along the Interstate 35 corridor between North and Central Texas.” Texas is doing well, behind only Tennessee and Alabama in adding automotive jobs in the South in recent years, and with more workers and growth still filtering in at the Toyota plant and headquarters.

However, like construction, auto manufacturing is a physical job, and with more workers pouring in, meaning more hours and more output, the potential for more injuries increases.

Most Common Injuries

The National Center for Biotechnology Information has specifically studied the types of injuries most common in auto manufacturing, and in an abstract published in the late 1990s printed a few of their findings. According to their research, the most common injuries included:

  • Sprains and Strains (39 percent) –A sprain or strain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments — the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together in your joints.
  • Lacerations (22 Percent) – A laceration is a wound produced by the tearing of body tissue, as distinguished from a cut or incision. External lacerations may be small or large and may be caused in many ways, such as a blow from a blunt instrument, a fall against a rough surface, or an accident with machinery.
  • Contusions (15 Percent) – A contusion is an injury to tissues with skin discoloration and without breakage of skin; also called a bruise. Blood from the broken vessels accumulates in surrounding tissues, producing pain, swelling, and tenderness, and the discoloration is the result of blood seepage just under the skin.

Additional Findings

  • 49% of the injuries resulted in one or more lost or restricted workdays.
  • 25% resulted in 7 or more lost or restricted workdays.
  • The injuries most likely to result in work loss were amputations, hernias and fractures.
  • Sprains/strains accounted for 65% of all lost workdays.
  • Injury rates ranged from 13.8 per 100 person-years at stamping plants to 28.7 at parts depots.

The automotive boom has truly been a blessing for the state. It has both created jobs and vitally boosted the economy, raising the quality of life for thousands of Texans. However, accidents happen, and when they do, the worker should come first.

If you or a loved one has been injured working in an auto manufacturing plant, contact Guajardo & Marks as soon as possible. Guajardo & Marks of Dallas have more than 20 years of experience, and have the knowledge and resource to effectively help you get the compensation to which you are entitled.  For questions or to set up an appointment, contact us online or call us at 972.774.9800.