Recent data shows that work-related fatalities in Texas rose by 25% in 2019 – up from 488 in 2018 to 608 in 2019. The incident rate of fatal occupational injuries in Texas was 4.7 per 100,000 full-time employees, with private-sector workers representing 94% of fatalities at 573. The industry with the highest number of fatal work injuries was trade, transportation, and utilities with 33 percent, seconded by the construction industry with 20 percent. Men accounted for 93 percent of total Texas on-the-job fatalities and employees over age 55 accounted for 33 percent as well. Below please find a list of what employers should prepare for and workers should watch out for as workplace fatalities are on the rise in Texas.
Which Types of Workplace Injuries Cause Fatalities?
According to the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC), and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), the type of behavior or job-related activities most commonly resulting in workplace fatalities included:
- Roadway Collisions Involving Motor Vehicles
- Falls, Slips, and Trips
- Violence By Other Persons or Animals
- Fire or Explosion
- Exposure To Harmful Substances or Environments
- Contact With Objects and Equipment
Workplace Motor Vehicle Collisions
Even with less traffic during the pandemic, Texas work zone fatalities increased 9% in 2020 compared to 2019. Drivers and their passengers account for the majority of those who have died in work zone crashes. In 2020, 147 motorists and vehicle passengers were killed in Texas work zones, along with 35 pedestrians and bicyclists and four road workers. Drivers must slow down, pay attention, watch out for road crews, avoid tailgating by leaving more than enough room between their car and the vehicle in front of them, and allow extra time to get to their destinations to avoid rushing.
In addition to motor vehicle collisions, other transportation incidents, including aircraft, rail vehicle, pedestrian vehicular, and non-roadway vehicular incidents, all also contribute to occupational injury and death.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Whether it is a fall on the same level, a fall to a lower level that’s not too far down, or a fall down to a lower level of over 30 feet, falls, slips and trips continue to injure and kill a significant number of Texas workers each year. At least 96 workers were killed in these accidents in 2019 and 71 even during the pandemic downturn year of 2020.
While violence on the job may not be the first thing you think about with regard to workplace fatalities in Texas, it is a significant cause. Intentional injury by a person, including homicides by shooting, stabbing, cutting, slashing, or piercing, along with suicides, make up the bulk of workplace violence-related deaths. Animal and insect-related incidents account for a small number as well.
Fires and Explosions
Fires and explosions kill 200 and injure more than 5,000 workers across all industries each year, according to OSHA. In 2019, 18 deaths on the job caused by fires and explosions affected Texas workers. Victims of an explosion or fire face life-altering financial, psychological, and physical effects, if they survive their injuries. While these types of accidents are less common than other work-related accidents, they are among the most serious with the potential to kill many employees.
Exposure to harmful substances or environments that led to worker deaths included exposure to electricity, extreme temperatures, and harmful substances. In fact, deaths caused by exposure to hazardous chemicals increased 29 percent between 2016 and 2019 according to the World Health Organization. Workers are commonly killed by inhalation of solvents, paint thinners, pesticides, and more.
Heavy Machinery Injuries
In an industrial setting, heavy machinery accidents are common and often catastrophic. Individuals can be struck by an object or equipment, including powered vehicles, falling objects, or equipment or be caught in or compressed by equipment or machinery. These work incidents often lead to amputation and other life-altering injuries if not wrongful death.
Houston, Texas Workplace Injury Lawyers
The Houston work injury lawyers of Adame Garza have handled on-the-job injury and death claims for almost 20 years. Our entire team speaks Spanish and English fluently, so we are proud to be able to help Houston’s workforce in both languages. We have offices in both Houston and Cypress for your convenience. If you or someone you know needs legal advice about a work-related accident, we offer free and confidential consultations, so contact us online today for more information about how we can help.