Texas Records Most On-the-Job Deaths in 20 Years

Texas remains one of the deadliest states in the nation for working people,  a newly released AFL-CIO report shows. “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” counts 608 Texas workplace fatalities in 2019 — the most in 20 years — including a 21 percent increase in on-the-job fatalities involving Hispanic workers. 

  The annual survey of workplace deaths and injuries underscores the need for Texas to enter the arena of workplace safety regulation and to reform the workers’ compensation system, Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said.

  “This report demonstrates in painful detail the failure of government at all levels to address corporate behavior that results in a tragic level of workplace deaths,” Levy said. 

  “The latest available data show, once again, that relying on a hollowed-out Occupational Safety and Health Administration alone is a recipe for more dangerous workplaces. Moreover, these deaths disproportionally involve Hispanic workers, especially immigrants who are in dangerous lines of work.”

  “Texas can do better. When Texas workers go to their jobs, they must have every assurance that at the end of the shift, they will be able to return home to their families. Texas not only lacks a workplace safety agency, but remains the only state that does not require workers’ compensation coverage even in the most dangerous occupations.” 

  Levy said at the national level, Congress should fully fund OSHA and immediately pass the PRO act to give workers a voice on the job to address safety issues. 

  “The facts are clear,” Levy said. “It is past time for government to act to save lives.”

 A few items from today’s report: 

  • The 608 Texas fatalities in fiscal 2019 are the most in the last two decades and amount to an increase from 3.8 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2018 to 4.7 deaths in 2019. The national average was 3.5 deaths per 100,000. Texas accounted for more than 11 percent of the nation’s 5,333 deaths;
  • Deaths among Hispanic workers in Texas rose from 198 in 2018 to 241 in 2019 — again the largest number in 20 years;
  • Texas has 99 OSHA inspectors. It would take them an estimated 274 years to inspect every workplace in the state (national average: 189 years). OSHA workers are outstanding when a tragedy has occurred, but the agency’s resources make proactive inspections rare; and
  • Violence in the workplace accounted for 86 Texas deaths. Only deaths from transportation accidents (283) and falls (96) exceeded that number.

  To see the full AFL-CIO report, go to: https://bit.ly/3h6YPOF