There are some extremely good statistics about the state of Texas. Our unemployment is very low, we have no state income tax and overall a very good quality of life. Unfortunately, we also have some very bad statistics as a state, such as the number of uninsured, educational achievements, and air quality in some parts of our state.
One of the statistics we would very much like to change is the fact that Texas has the highest rate of construction worker fatal accidents anywhere in the country. A recent opinion piece in the Houston Chronicle was very interesting.
Even though OSHA regulates the vast majority of construction practices and provides a minimum level of safe conduct, the numbers of workers in Texas who are injured or killed each year on construction sites are astounding. While the majority of workers killed on the job are actually driving at the time or in a vehicle, there are still large numbers of other accidents such as:
* Fall injuries
* Crane accidents
* Forklift accidents
* Trench cave-ins
*Heavy equipment accidents
*Power tool accidents
Given recent case law in the state of Texas, many contractors seek to avoid legal responsibility by claiming “independent contractor” status on the part of someone partially responsible for safety or the accident. This practice has been a method for companies to avoid having to obtain workers compensation insurance and seek to evade any responsibility for a potential accident.
As a state, we can take great pride in many things that we have done to benefit our community and citizens, at the same time, we have a long way to go to protect communities and workers and also hold those who have injured others accountable.
It is a common misconception that allowing a wrongdoer to escape legal responsibility is a victimless situation. Texas taxpayers end up picking up the tab when through “tort reform” or case law, those who contribute to an accident escape all legal responsibility. In that case, Texas families in Texas taxpayers ultimately end up picking up the tab.