This article by Representative Armando Walle, D-Houston originally appeared in the Houston Chronicle on April 1, 2013. Reprinted with permission.
In recent years, attention has been drawn to the dangers and injustices faced by construction workers in Texas where business is booming and construction levels have rebounded to near pre-recession levels. Texas construction workers and their families are often set up for failure, dealing with dangerous work sites, poor wages, bad training and labor rights violations.
The sad fact is that Texas still leads the country in the rate of construction worker fatalities. This is unacceptable. Federal regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration provide some protections, but as a state we must make improvements to ensure safety at work sites, including adequate health and safety training and proper safety equipment for employees.
The role of workers' compensation is also particularly important for these construction workers. Workers' compensation provides a means for injured workers to pay medical bills resulting from workplace injuries and make up for lost income until they return to full employment. Workers' compensation also serves the families of workers killed on the job, providing a portion of the lost wages to surviving family members. Read more » about Texas is No. 1 in a Grim Statistic