Harris County Leaders Discuss High Workplace Fatalities

In Harris County, local labor and county leaders announced in a press conference that they will be making construction safety their priority in 2023. Recently, Harris County Commissioners voted to approve the new safety policy on January 10, 2023. This comes in response to an alarming number of construction workers who have died in the Houston area.

The new safety policy is intended to expand protections for employees and contractors in the county. Paul Puente, Executive Secretary of the Houston Gulf Coast Building and Construction Trades Council, said at the press conference, “Folks get up and go to work, and they don’t know if they are going to come back home.”

Harris County attorney Christian Menefee said under the new safety protocol, companies that have shown a willful disregard for safety would be temporarily banned from bidding on county construction projects. Also, the new policy requires that managers and employees attend Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in 2021 Texas reported over 533 workplace fatalities. A majority of these fatalities occurred within the construction trades. Linda Morales, the organizing director of the Texas Gulf Coast Labor Federation, stated “We’ve heard from some workers who have never had training class that covers basic safety issues that may occur on a construction site…to end the job safety crises, workers must not only be trained to recognize work site hazards by taking OSHA classes but also be confident that they can speak up without fear of retribution or retaliation”.

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries or the loss of a family member due to the negligence of another in the construction sector, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-222-7211 or toll-free at 1-800-870-9584.