Local: 915-838-1100

Davie & Valdez, P.C.

free consultation | no fee if no recovery

El Paso Workers'' Compensation Law Blog

Sanitation Workers Face Dangerous Work Conditions

Sanitation workers are a necessary part of the workforce, helping to keep cities in Texas and across the United States free of trash. While seeing a sanitation worker collecting trash from homes and business is a fairly common sight, it is not commonly known the dangers that many workers face in their jobs. According to the Solid Waste Association of North America, seven sanitation workers were killed during the first 10 days of 2018.

Additionally, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that recyclable and refuse material collectors had the fifth highest rate of fatal work injuries in civil occupations in 2016. This amounts to 10 times higher risk compared with other occupations. Injuries and fatalities have been found to occur before, during and after each work shift.

Wearable device designed to keep workers safe

Many workers in Texas and worldwide have dangerous jobs. In fact, statistics show that over 1,000 workers are killed around the globe each day. Approximately 500 people are injured in workplace accidents every minute.

To help reduce workplace injuries and fatalities, an Iowa insurtech startup has developed a wearable device that can record important environmental data as workers go about their jobs. The device, called MākuSafe, processes the data it collects in real time, allowing safety managers to see problem areas, identify trends and rectify potential hazards before they cause injuries.

Five tips for a safer work environment

Employers in Texas may be wondering how to keep their employees safe, especially when they're being constrained by deadlines and the fast pace of the work environment. This is where five tips can come in handy. If employers follow these guidelines, they may find a decline in worker injury rates and an increase in employee morale, employee retention and business productivity.

The goal is to create a safety-minded culture, but this can only be achieved through a top-down operation. Strong leadership is essential. The second tip is for employers, supervisors or others in positions of authority to send out surveys to the employees. They can respond anonymously to questions regarding their knowledge of corporate policies and expectations, opinion of safety levels in the workplace and sense of their own duties.

ABC identifies measures that improve construction site safety

Construction workers in Texas whose employers use the Associated Builders and Contractors' Safety Performance Evaluation Process, also known as STEP, may be less likely to be injured on the job than those who work for employers who do not. ABC found that reportable safety incidents can be reduced by 85 percent and overall company safety may go up by as much as 670 percent when companies use STEP.

ABC identified several initiatives used by companies with better safety records. New hire orientation, substance abuse programs, establishing a site safety committee and toolbox talk were among the important elements of a safer workplace. STEP gives contractors tools to learn best practices and measure safety records. The association also identified both employee and C-Suite engagement as critical.

How to guard against burn injuries at work

Those working in the oil and gas industry in Texas and throughout the country need to be aware of the risks related to fires. In 2017, three workers in Colorado were injured when an oilfield pipeline fire broke out. One of the men later died from his injuries. To protect against fire and other burn injuries, workers should be outfitted with proper flame-resistant (FR) clothing. In addition to keeping workers safe, it can offer financial protection for employers.

According to the American Burn Association, an individual could need to spend 54 days in the hospital to recover from burns covering up to 60 percent of his or her body. That could cost a company $780,000 in hospital bills in addition to OSHA fines and other costs related to the accident. As stated in OHSA rule 1910.132, employers are required to be on the lookout for potential hazards and ways to prevent accidents from happening.

Pinch points pose a danger in the workplace

Texas workers could find various parts of their body at risk from exposure to machinery in the workplace. The term "pinch point" is used to define any part of a machine that could catch a person or a part of their body between moving parts, between moving and stationary parts or between materials and the machine itself. There can be a number of different pinch points that workers encounter when dealing with machinery on the job, including robotic machines, conveyor belts, power presses, metal forming and construction machines, rollers, assembly devices, power doors and hatches, plastic molding mechanisms, printing presses and power transmission equipment.

Employers have a responsibility to evaluate the machinery in use in the workplace and identify potential hazards where they appear in order to prevent employees from experiencing workplace injuries as a result of pinch points. Identification of the danger is only the first step, however; the employer should use protective devices or eliminate the potential that workers could face an injury in those locations. For example, guards can be installed to prevent workers from reaching into, under or around the dangerous area of the machine.

OSHA renews alliance with entertainment industry groups

According to a recent press release, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has renewed its partnership with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT). This announcement is good news for Texas residents that work in the entertainment industry.

USITT is a professional organization for workers in the entertainment industry. Their goal is to give development opportunities to its members. The IATSE is a labor union representing the interests of entertainment industry workers, including craftspersons, technicians and artisans.

OSHA updates employers on crystalline silica rule

Texas general industry and maritime employers have until June 23 of this year to comply with much of the OSHA standard for respirable crystalline silica. Employers in the construction industry have had to comply with the rule since it went into effect in June 2016. The standard prohibits workers from being exposed to more than an average of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air of crystalline silica for an eight-hour shift.

Crystalline silica is found in both real and artificial stone as well as in sand, and roughly 2 million construction workers are exposed to it. Too much exposure to the substance could result in scarring of the lungs. Employers are required to create written plans to limit worker exposure as well as establish worker training programs as part of the standard. Furthermore, employers are required to assess the ways in which workers may be exposed to crystalline silica on the job.

Workplace survey reveals need to update safety planning

When people go to work in Texas, they anticipate a routine experience, but if an emergency occurs at work, they might not know what to do. A survey conducted by Rave Mobile Safety collected answers from 530 people about emergency planning and workplace safety. The results showed a need to update emergency plans beyond fire drills and generational differences about awareness of workplace safety.

Approximately 87 percent of respondents indicated that they knew their employers' escape plan during a fire and had practiced it. Only 57 percent of workers, however, said that their workplaces had plans for other types of threats like a hazardous materials release, severe weather or an active shooter. A security consultant commenting on the survey said that companies need to prepare for the possibility of workplace violence.

Report urges closer cooperation between workplace safety agencies

A report detailing the results of a yearlong study commissioned by the National Institute for Occupational Safety, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that workers in Texas and around the country would be better protected if the three federal agencies were shared more data and worked together more closely to regulate employers and enforce workplace safety regulations. The conclusions were announced in a statement released to the press on Jan. 9.

According to the report, the nation's workplaces have changed greatly in recent years, and new safety issues have emerged, but federal agencies have been slow to respond to these developments. In addition to more cooperation between NIOSH, OSHA and BLS, the chair of the report has called for employers and workers to play a more active role in improving workplace safety.

Experience That Matters. More Than 65 Years Of Combined Legal Practice.