Local: 915-838-1100

Davie & Valdez, P.C.

free consultation | no fee if no recovery

El Paso Workers'' Compensation Law Blog

Tree care workers face high risks and patchy safety regulations

On-the-job hazards come at tree care workers in Texas from all directions. They can get hurt or killed by falling from high places, getting struck by falling limbs, coming in contact with electrical utility wires or encountering problems with chainsaws or wood chippers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not have regulations specifically for tree care workers. They work under rules developed for various occupations like loggers or construction workers. Although OSHA plans to create safety standards for tree workers, employers currently observe a patchwork of OSHA rules, state regulations and Arboricultural Operations--Safety Requirements.

Employers and employees can work together to promote workplace safety. Managers of a tree company could meet with workers to gather information about hazards and ideas for improving safety. Training should aim to inform workers about how to recognize power line dangers and use fall protection equipment correctly.

OSHA guidelines on preventing struck-by injuries

Being struck by objects is one of the four most deadly hazards in the workplace according to OSHA. Struck-by injuries can be caused by a range of objects, including falling, flying, rolling, swinging and slipping objects. Employers and employees in Texas will want to know what OSHA guidelines are regarding the prevention of these injuries.

The first step is for workers to wear the personal protective equipment that's required in their respective industries. This can include hard hats, goggles and steel-toe shoes. Workers should never work on machinery unless they have received the proper training. They should also make sure the safety devices on their equipment are functional.

Logging, fishing top list of most dangerous jobs in US

Not only are some industries more hazardous than others, but some are more dangerous than might be expected. Employers and employees in Texas should consider the list of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S., which were recently compiled based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS, in its 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, has also calculated the fatal work injury rate and the number of deaths in each industry listed.

Logging workers, fishers and fishing workers, aircraft pilots and flight engineers, roofers and trash and recycling collectors formed the top five categories. The riskiest industry, logging, had a fatal work injury rate of 135.9 per 100,000 workers (full-time or the equivalent). The last five in the top 10 were iron and steel workers, truck and sales drivers, farmers and ranchers, construction managers and grounds maintenance workers.

Reducing slip, trip and fall hazards in the workplace

Slip, trips and falls that occur in Texas workplaces can result in serious injuries for workers. Because these types of injuries can have a major impact on an employee's health and ability to work, employers should be diligent in uncovering and preventing these types of injuries from occurring.

Although inspections may be time consuming, employers should conduct a comprehensive safety audit in order to identify any unsafe workplace conditions that the workplace may have. It should be noted, however, that many safety audits do not focus on floor safety. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, floor safety audits are not required although employers are responsible for inspecting all walking-working surfaces. Regardless, conducting a floor audit could save the company money and provide a safe workplace for employees.

Calculating the cost of a workplace accident

Employers in Texas could pay a high cost for failing to keep their workers safe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the cost of a worker's life is about $1 million. This takes into account legal fees, medical costs and workers' compensation expenses. Furthermore, an accident that is caused by an employer's willful negligence could lead to an OSHA fine of $129,336.

There are also many hidden costs that are hard to put an exact price on. For instance, a company could need to replace damaged property or deal with lower productivity because of a loss in employee morale. An accident could also lead to poor publicity for the business, which may result in losing current clients or future job opportunities. Large companies are not exempt from having policies that don't take worker safety into account.

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.

Experience That Matters. More Than 47 Years Of Combined Legal Practice.