Fatal workplace accidents are tragic occurrences that happen to thousands of Americans each year. Thankfully, in 2012, the national number of workplace deaths actually dropped to the second lowest level that the country has seen in 20 years. However, this is not the case in Texas. Last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas showed an overall rise in fatal workplace accidents, resulting in a huge 23 percent increase.
Overall, 4,383 Americans died on the job last year, which was 310 less than the previous year. In 2012, Texas suffered 531 fatal workplace accidents. This number was only 433 in 2011. This was largely due to increased fatal injuries in the transportation, mining and construction industries in Texas along with a record-breaking increase in workplace deaths in the oil and gas industry for the entire nation.
The transportation industry was ultimately the leading cause of fatal workplace accidents in Texas in 2012. It was followed by violence, falls and getting struck by equipment or objects while on the job. A large total of 258 workers died associated with the transportation industry, which was over 100 more than in 2011. This increase is in part suspected to be a result of the boom in the oil and gas industry.
Whether any of these Texas industries will undergo new safety programs and procedures to prevent further rises in fatal workplace accidents has not yet been reported. However, it is safe to assume that safety inspections will be made, especially with regard to the transportation industry after the release of this data. If a workplace death was caused by a safety violation, the surviving family members could be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim in some instances. In these circumstances, surviving family members will likely want to investigate their legal rights regarding workers' compensation and potential wrongful death claims, where appropriate under our laws.
Source: Longview News-Journal, Workplace deaths drop nationwide, not in Texas, No author, Aug. 25, 2013