Articles Tagged with Workplace Injuries

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To save time and labor, farmers and agricultural workers often turn to herbicides to aid them in their agricultural work. For example, some herbicides like Paraquat aid them in exterminating overgrown weeds and other unwanted grasses. Unfortunately, while this may be beneficial to the farmer saving them time and money, Paraquat can have fatal consequences. Paraquat is an extremely poisonous herbicide that can lead to death if an individual or agricultural worker ingests it. 

Paraquat can not even be purchased in the United States unless the applicator has a license for it. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified it as “restricted use.”. This herbicide has very tight restrictions due to the fact it’s highly poisonous. Unlike most other herbicides, Paraquat can’t be applied if the applicator does not have a license, even if they are under the supervision of someone who does. Paraquat is so dangerous that only licensed professionals are allowed to apply it on their crops. 

Several safety precautions are taken to deter an individual from confusing Paraquat with a beverage or other liquid. In the United States, A blue dye and sharp odor are added to the liquid so that one doesn’t confuse it with other beverages as well as an added agent that causes vomiting if accidentally ingested. In addition, those who apply the product must wear extra protective equipment such as respiratory protection, safety glasses, and more. Those who mix and load Paraquat are required to wear full-face shields and chemical-resistant aprons. 

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Vegetables spraying with pesticides in a garden

Paraquat is a popular herbicide used among agricultural workers and farmers because of its highly destructive nature towards unwanted grasses and weeds. This herbicide is so good at its job that it is one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States. However, It is highly poisonous to humans and wildlife, making it dangerous to use, necessitating numerous safety regulations. Paraquat is classified by the EPA as “restricted use” and can only be applied and purchased by a certified individual with a license. In addition, there are special agents added that cause vomiting if ingested, a blue dye, and a sharp odor added to Paraquat in the United States to differentiate it from beverages one might drink. 

While using Paraquat is beneficial to the farmers because it reduces the need for labor and saves money, there are risks with using this product that can be fatal. For example, studies have shown an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease after using Paraquat. According to the mayo clinic, “Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement.” This disease can have a range in symptoms. For example, you may have trouble with mobility, such as trouble with walking, your muscles may stiffen up, you may shake and have trouble with balance and coordination. Another example of possible symptoms is dementia,  loss of smell, problems with speech, and difficulty writing. 

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collection-of-construction-safety-helmet-38070-300x197Recently, the Supreme Court of Texas issued a decision in a lawsuit stemming from injuries an employee suffered at his workplace. The case arose when a general contractor subcontracted with the defendant to drill a foundation for a commercial construction project. The plaintiff was working as a lead superintendent for the project. On the day of the incident, the subcontractor’s crew began working on a new piling without sufficient grout, contrary to the company’s policy. The defendant’s foreman told the crane operator to rock the auger back and forth to free it from the solidifying grout. After several minutes the foreman told the operator to stop, as it posed a danger. However, the subcontractor’s superintendent overrode the foreman’s instructions and told him to continue. Despite concern that the situation was becoming increasingly dangerous, the subcontractor demanded that the operator continue. As a result, some of the crane’s rollers came off and crushed the plaintiff’s legs, ultimately requiring amputation of his legs.

The plaintiff received workers’ compensation and subsequently filed a lawsuit against the subcontractor for negligence and gross negligence, arguing that the subcontractor waived its exclusive remedy defense. Later the plaintiff amended his complaint, contending that the subcontractor intentionally injured the plaintiff.

In Texas, the Workers’ Compensation Act, (the Act) is the exclusive remedy for eligible employees who seek compensation for work-related injuries. This provision provides medical and disability benefits without considering the fault of either the employer or employee. The Act does not allow lawsuits for an employer’s grossly negligent behavior unless the conduct results in a fatal injury. However, an exception to the bar on lawsuits exists when an employer commits an intentional tort. In order to satisfy the exception, the plaintiff must establish that the employer “believed that its actions are substantially certain to result” in a specific injury to a specific employee, not “merely highly likely to increase the overall risks to employees in the workplace.”

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December 31, 2019 Hutto, Texas – A local man was killed in an industrial accident Monday morning at Starfire Manufacturing located in the Tradesman Park Loop in Hutto.  The Williamson County Sheriff’s department reported that a man in his 60’s was at the location to borrow a forklift. A large metal booth already situated on the forklift tipped off and landed on the man killing him.  The victim was confirmed as not an employee of the company, Starfire Manufacturing. OSHA and Workers Defense Project have been contacted but is is not known if any violations had been committed.  

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Industrial Accidents

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018,  there were 58 industrial fatalities in Texas from contact with objects and equipment.  Of these deaths, 57 were within the private sector of manufacturing of goods, construction, or transportation.  

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