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What is behind the rise in workplace accidents in Texas?

Workers in certain industries often realize that they face more health risks than other workers. Injuries and even fatalities are more likely for workers in industries such as construction or manufacturing. Despite that fact, employers are still expected to do everything possible to protect workers.

If you have ever been hurt on the job, you know just how much it can impact your life. You may have to miss work, which could impact your earnings, not to mention the potential long-term effects of certain injuries on your overall health. Some experts worry that the death rates for workers in Texas are entirely too high, and they want to see businesses held responsible for worker safety.

What statistics tell us

One study revealed that there were more worker deaths in Texas in 2017-- the most recent year with complete statistics -- than people murdered in four of the largest cities in the state. Furthermore, the Lone Star State has had the highest rate of worker fatalities over any other state in the U.S. each year since 2009. Even a state with a larger population had 30% fewer worker deaths than Texas. 

All of these numbers mean that every 16 hours a worker died in Texas in 2017. Many of these fatalities, experts say, are entirely preventable. They may be due to falls, heat stroke or electrocution, or they may be the result of the negligence of a third party. 

What can businesses and workers do?

Stopping these deaths may be as simple as implementing better safety protocols, according to experts. At this time, no state law says that employers have to give rest breaks, which could prevent deaths from heat stroke as well as others. One other thing the state could do is to require private companies to have workers' compensation insurance.

Another idea is to create a state agency that can conduct occupational safety inspections, similar to what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does at the federal level. More specific data about details of fatal work accidents could also provide significant insight into prevention. Advocates could use the information to determine ways to get companies to follow the law.

Workers have rights

If you suffer injuries at work, you have rights that you may not know about. A workplace injury can drastically affect the quality of your life and the lives of your family members. If someone you cared about died in a workplace accident, you also may have options for holding responsible parties accountable. 

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