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Texas workers at higher risk than those in other states

Workers in Texas face a greater risk of death than workers in any other state, according to a special report published by the Dallas Morning News. The report stated that there is a 12 percent higher likelihood that a worker in Texas will die in a job accident than that worker would face doing the same job in another state. One reason that Texas workers are more at risk of death may be because Texas treats more workers as independent contractors.

Unlike with regular company employees, there is no requirement that independent contractors be given any safety training or equipment. Texas is also a "right-to-work" state, meaning that employees who work in a company that has union representation are not personally required to join a union. The analysis provided in the newspaper found a correlation between states with less of a union presence and states with higher fatality rates. The newspaper found that government and industry as a whole in Texas have also invested relatively little in workplace inspections and safety precautions for workers.

Immigrant workers are also more likely to face death in Texas than they are in California, another state with a large immigrant population. In fact, though California has 1.5 times more immigrant workers than Texas, immigrant workers in Texas have two-thirds more deaths than those in California. Texas construction sites were also found to be 22 percent deadlier than the national average, and 1,723 workplace deaths were investigated by OSHA over a 10-year period.

Governor Rick Perry released a press statement saying that services and incentives were in place to make worksites safer. A worker who is injured on the job or feels that there are safety hazards in the workplace that violate state or federal laws may want to consult with an attorney to discuss the particular circumstances.

Source: Safety.BLR.com, "Report suggests problems with worker protection in Texas", August 27, 2014

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