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Houston has highest rate of fatal workplace accidents

As we remember our recent celebration of Labor Day, residents of Houston might be well-served to know one important employment fact: Their city ranks worst in the nation for workplace fatalities and catastrophes. Workplace accidents occur everywhere, but they seem to plague employees in Texas, where more employees die than in any other state. Houston is the worst offender in Texas, but the whole state is a hazard -- workers in Texas are 12 percent more likely to die at work than those performing the same job in another state.

These startling statistics come from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's most recently released report on workplace deaths and catastrophes. That list includes incidents beginning in October 2013 and continuing into the present. Not surprisingly, the most common fatal work accidents were attributable to everyday work hazards such as electrocution and falls. Construction work and maintenance activities ranked high among the most dangerous undertakings.

Experts say that the construction industry could be the key to understanding the high rate of fatal work accidents in the Houston area. Texas and Houston both employ high percentages of construction workers, often including immigrants who face a special risk. Officials say that Hispanic workers bear an unfair workplace fatality burden in the state.

No matter the industry, all Texas workers have the right to a safe place of employment. We all realize that accidents happen -- but when they do, the negligent party should be held financially responsible. That may mean that a company is required to pay wrongful death benefits in the event of a workplace fatality. No one should have to endure the loss of a loved one because of death in the course of employment.

Source: Houston Press, "Happy Labor Day! Houston Has More Workplace Fatalities Than Other Texas Cities" Maha Ahmed, Sep. 01, 2014

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