Construction projects can be dangerous and can be the result of faulty machinery, inexperience, lack of safety measures, and weather, among other factors. Notably, the construction industry in Texas not only employs nearly 600,000 Texans, but it also contributes $9.2 billion in wages. Unfortunately, construction workers face some of the most deadly working conditions in the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 715 construction-related deaths were recorded in the U.S. in 2010, and 138 of these deaths occurred in Texas.
In June 2013, four workers were hurt, three critically, after a barn frame collapsed at a Texas A&M University equestrian complex that was under construction. According to a Texas A&M spokesman, the collapse took place on university property about a mile from the main campus. The National Weather Service reported that conditions at the time of the collapse were cloudy with temperatures in the mid-80s and winds gusting just above 10 mph, indicating that weather was likely not a factor.
This accident is just one of many accidents involving construction workers taking place across Texas. According to the Houston Chronicle, Texas leads the nation in the rate of construction worker fatalities. Although federal and state regulations provide some protections to construction workers and their families, there is still more that can be done. Even though workers injured on the job are supposed to recover lost income via workers’ compensation, in at least 60% of work-related fatalities in Texas, no benefits from workers’ compensation are paid. In fact, according to data from the Texas Department of Insurance, this number is even higher for construction workers. Additionally, Texas is currently the only state in the United States that does not require workers’ compensation for private employers.
A 2011 report by the Workers Defense Project reveals the following troubling statistics:
• One in five construction workers is injured on the job, yet only 45% of workers have workers’ compensation.
• Texas is the most deadly place to work in construction, with a worker dying every 2.5 days and nearly 16,900 accidents annually.
• Construction workers make up a disproportionate amount of uncompensated care costs due to work-related injuries: hospitals on Fort Worth and San Antonio reported that even though construction workers make up less than 6% of the workforce, they account for nearly 20% of the uncompensated dollars due to workplace accidents.
The good news is that the fatality rate for construction workers in Texas is declining. A report by the Associated General Contractors of America, reveals that the construction fatality rate is declining faster in Texas than most other states. Indeed, Texas contractors have successfully reduced the construction injury rate by 36 percent between 2003 and 2011 (the earliest and most recent years such data is available), from 4.4 injuries per 100 workers to 2.8. This decrease can be attributed to new safety programs created in Texas focused on increasing safety, including participation in OSHA’s Safety Stand Down.
If you or a loved one is injured while on the job you need a team of experienced lawyers on your side. It is important that your lawyers have a thorough knowledge of state and federal laws and regulations that govern construction sites and accidents. Call the experienced San Antonio construction site injury attorneys at Carabin & Shaw today at 1-800-862-1260 and we may be able to help you.
Texas A&M Construction Accident Leaves Four Workers Injured, The Huffington Post
Texas in No. 1 in a grim statistic, The Houston Chronicle
Navigating Work Place Injuries, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, June 19, 2013