Is going to work hazardous to your health?
The Texas Observer reports the rate of on-the job deaths among state residents is trending upward. Every year since 2009, Texas has registered more deaths on the job than any other state. 2016 and 2017 were the deadliest years for work-related deaths in the past two decades, with recent data showing a Texas worker died on the job every 16 hours.
Gus Bova wrote “Texas Observer” story. He says California led the country in worker deaths in the 90s, but has since been outpaced by Texas, according to 2017 data.
“I did not expect that a worker would be dying almost two a day at that rate,” Bova says.
Bova says the numbers really stand out when considering deaths per capita – Texas has the highest death rates among the most populous states.
“In the last decade or so, Texas has just been shooting in the wrong direction,” Bova says.
Working conditions in already-dangerous jobs like construction are exacerbated by the lack of state mandate for worker break periods. Only Austin and Dallas have passed rules. Bova says the most legislative session could have moved the state even further from protecting workers, with proposals that would have preempted those local policies.
The causes of worker deaths range from electrocution to asphyxiation, but the two leading categories are falls and automotive accidents.
Bova says efforts to produce new laws have not shown great promise because the problem is not yet fully understood.
“We’re not getting sufficient data from the federal government to propose policy,” Bova says.
Written by Geronimo Perez.