A recent review by the Dallas Morning News discovered that Texas was the deadliest state for construction workers in the country. Within a nine year period from 2002-2012, Texas had 4,593 reported deaths. Many of these fatalities were related to electrical contracting, roofing, and framing jobs. The leading cause of death among construction workers are falls on the worksite.
One possible reason for such high mortality numbers is Texas’ practice of designating trade workers as subcontractors instead of employees. This practice alone saves a company with a payroll of $1,000,000 between $85,000 to $100,000 in payroll taxes each year. When a worker becomes injured or killed, the company denies responsibility by claiming them as independent contractor rather than an employee. Additionally, many commercial liability policies today contain exclusions for injuries or deaths to independent contracts.
The state also has a relatively weak backing by unions, meanwhile, with other states with stronger labor unions reporting much lower fatality rates. Unions often require their members attend Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certified training courses. The Ironworkers’ union in Dallas requires its members attend a 30 hour safety course before they may be considered a qualified journeyman and receive union job referrals/placement.
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed while at work, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner today by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 1-800-870-8584.