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Texas Leads Nation in Workplace Fatalities


More workers are dying on the job in Texas than any other state.

Texas Had Led in Workplace Fatalities Since 2009

At least 532 people across the Lone Star State suffered fatal injuries at work during 2017.

According to the Texas Observer, that’s higher than the number of murders reported during the same year in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin combined.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new, as Texas has led the country in workplace fatalities since 2009. Texas also had the highest worker death rate per capita among the nation’s 10 most populous states.

Energy Extraction Jobs Among Deadliest in Texas

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations, which collectively logged 202 workplace fatalities in 2017, are among the most dangerous jobs in Texas. Just over half of those deaths occurred in the construction and energy extraction industries.

With 193 workplace fatalities, occupations involving production, transportation, and material moving were nearly as risky.

In far too many cases, Texas workplace fatalities resulted from completely preventable accidents, including electrocutions, asphyxiations, falls from roofs, exposure to toxins, equipment malfunctions, heat stroke, and motor vehicle collisions.

Lax Regulation Contributes to Texas Workplace Fatalities

According to the Texas Observer, lax regulation is a major contributor to this atrocious safety record. Texas, for example, is the only state in the nation that doesn’t require workers’ compensation insurance for private employers.

Workers in the Lone Star State also aren’t entitled to regular rest breaks, even those routinely subjected to sweltering temperatures and extreme weather conditions, such as construction and oilfield workers. And it certainly doesn’t help that Texas boasts the fourth-lowest rate of union representation in the country and lacks an occupational safety agency of its own.

“Falls from roofs, dying in trenches, asphyxiations — those are all things we absolutely know how to prevent. One hundred percent preventable,” Celeste Monforton, a lecturer in public health at Texas State University and a former OSHA official, told the Observer. “Let’s look at what’s killing people, and ask why employers are not complying with the law.”

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