When you go to work, you expect a basic level of personal safety. In fact, federal laws give you the right to a safe workplace. However, there are still a staggering number of workplace injuries in Texas every year.
In 2014 alone, there were 524 fatal occupational injuries in Texas. For every workplace fatality, there are many more accidents that cause devastating injuries to Texas workers.
When your work conditions are responsible for a serious injury, you can pursue legal action for your damages – including pain, suffering, medical bills, lost wages and loss of work capacity. The Dallas workplace injury lawyers at Guajardo & Marks have represented many injured employees seeking workers’ compensation for their damages.
Workplace Fatalities Highest Since 2008
2014 was the deadliest year for American workers since 2008, when a tragic 5,214 US workers lost their lives. The Wall Street Journal specifically pointed out the “dramatic” rise in job-related deaths of oil field workers. According to the reports, the most dangerous industries for American workers are construction, mining, agriculture and manufacturing. Texas, Colorado and Wyoming experienced the largest increases in fatalities.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) – Workplace traumatic brain injuries have the highest occurrence in the construction sector, despite the use of protective helmets by workers. Construction, along with transportation and agriculture/forestry/fishing, accounts for nearly half of all workplace traumatic brain injuries. Structural collapses (scaffolds/trenches) and falls are often the cause of TBI’s in construction.
Spinal Cord Damage – Spinal cord injuries, along with TBI’s, are considered to be catastrophic injuries. They are also caused by many of the same workplace accidents – scaffolding collapses, equipment failures, being struck by an object, etc. SCI’s can lead to paralysis or death, and are some of the most costly forms of all injuries.
Loss of a Limb/Amputations – When an occupational injury leads to amputation or loss of a limb, it is frequently related to the operation of mechanical equipment. There are a number of workplace responsibilities that carry a high risk of amputation, including the operation of saws, guillotine shears and shearing machines, punching machines, meat packing and processing machines, meat slicers, paper products machines, woodworking machines and metal-forming machines.
Organ Damage – A major blow to the body can result in devastating internal injuries, leading to organ failure and loss of life. These injuries are not as easily detected as other workplace injuries, though they can be just as serious, leading to the damage of organs like the kidneys, lungs, liver and spleen. Blunt trauma, electrocutions, burns and collisions in the workplace can all cause organ damage.
Wrongful Death – When hazardous work conditions lead to the death of a worker, the surviving family members can be left with staggering medical bills, funeral costs and loss of income. This is especially true if the deceased was the primary earner in the family. Surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death claim if their loved one was killed in a workplace accident.
Burn Injuries – Burns are incredibly painful and costly injuries. They occur from exposure to fire, electricity, overheated equipment or chemicals. If a worker does not receive adequate training regarding equipment or chemicals that cause serious burns, the result could be a serious injury.
Rushing Injury – Many of us face time constraints in our jobs. However, when employers place unreasonable demands on workers, they can potentially put employees in great peril. By forcing workers to rush, they are effectively creating an unsafe work environment, which can lead to devastating personal injuries in the workplace.
Electrocution – Electrocution is listed by OSHA as one of the “Fatal Four” injuries seen in construction injuries. Electrocutions among adults most frequently occur in workplace settings. These injuries can result in serious burns, internal organ damage and death.
Who's Responsible for Workplace Injuries?
Hazardous Work Environments
Construction Accidents – In 2014, one out of five occupational fatalities was in construction. This statistic highlights the perilous work conditions that construction workers face on a daily basis. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has dubbed the top four causes of construction fatalities as the “Fatal Four” – falls, electrocutions, struck by/against an object and caught in or between objects.
Industrial Injuries – In 2014, 35.6 percent of all workplace illnesses occurred in the goods-producing sector. The heavy machinery involved in sectors like manufacturing can cause serious injuries to workers. Exposure to chemicals or hazardous materials can also lead to debilitating injuries and illnesses.
Oil Field Worker Injuries – Oil and gas extraction is risky business. In 2014, the mining/quarrying and oil/gas extraction industries had 75 workplace fatalities in Texas. An article in the Houston Chronicle reported that a number of oil field injuries go unreported, citing one incident in which a man’s insurance company denied his claim, in part because he failed to report his injury in a timely manner.
Oil Rig Explosions – Oil rig workers face long, grueling hours on the job, in addition to risky workplace conditions. Those working on offshore rigs are seven times more likely to die on the job than other U.S. workers. Oil rig explosions can lead to catastrophic injuries, organ damage, loss of limbs, lifelong disabilities and death.
Equipment Malfunctions – Equipment malfunctions occur in many different sectors – construction, manufacturing, and oil and gas extraction. They can result in paralysis, loss of limbs, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and death. It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure the safety of equipment their employees will be operating.
Crane Failures – Crane failures present a lethal hazard to both workers and the general public. When a crane failure in Dallas was caught on camera in 2015, fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. However, two construction workers did lose their lives only a few years earlier, in 2012, when a crane fell at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Scaffolding Accidents – Roughly 65 percent of construction employees work on scaffolding. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 72 percent of workers involved in scaffolding accidents attributed them to the planking and support’s giving way, to the employee’s slipping, or to being struck by a falling object.
Dallas Workplace Injury Lawyers
If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, remember that time is of the essence in workplace injury cases. Worker’s compensation claims must be filed within one year from the date of the injury or within one year from the time the employee knew, or should have known, about the injury. Texas workplace injury claims can be complex and require the skill of an experienced workplace injury attorney. Contact Guajardo & Marks today for a free consultation.
I was very impressed with the services of Michael Guajardo. He was very prompt about getting back to me and always answered all my questions. I am also very happy with the outcome of my case. I would definitely recommend Michael’s services to others. Everyone I worked with went above and beyond the call of duty whenever necessary. – SUSAN P. DALLAS, TX