In February, the Houston community was shocked to learn of the tragic death of two Houstonians when a cement truck driver lost control of the vehicle as it began spilling cement across the road. The wet cement caused the vehicle to veer into oncoming traffic, killing both drivers upon impact. An investigation of the accident found the company that owns the cement truck, Lattimore Materials Corporation, had a stained history of citations regarding safety violations over the last two years. Since 2018, the citations issued against the company included nine work truck-related accidents as well as over 226 Texas Department of Transportation violations, including citations for failure to secure cargo loads.
Violations Not Bringing Change
Unfortunately, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) allowed the company to continue operations as normal despite numerous citations and accidents. While the citations and accidents evidenced an immediate need for a safety overhaul within the company, Lattimore Materials continued to put not only the lives of its employees at risk, but also the lives of countless others who would share the roads with their unfit work vehicles.
It is a story that residents and workers alike have heard and seen countless times – a dangerous company pays away its citations until something catastrophic like the accident involving the unsecured cement truck unfolds. Companies with a multitude of safety violations left operational like this contribute to increased worker deaths in a variety of industries across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2017 1,299 workers were killed in a work-related motor vehicle accident, accounting for around 25% of all worker deaths for the year.
Had the citations that so clearly signaled an immediate need for safety regulations and training not only been implemented but enforced, the lives of two Houstonians and their loved ones would not have been permanently changed forever.
Most Common OSHA Citations
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is responsible for regulating companies and their ongoing efforts to keep employees and worksites safe. According to OSHA, the most common safety violations that place employees lives at risk include:
- Inadequate or zero instruments for fall protection
- Hazardous communications standards
- Inadequate scaffolding and/or scaffolding that lacks proper safety barriers
- Respiratory hazards (workers breathing in or exposed to hazardous chemicals)
- Lack of control for electrical equipment and/or materials
- Inadequate ladder systems
- High-powered and/or work vehicles failures
- Fall-protection training
- Machinery and lack of machine guarding
- Lack of proper eye and/or face guarding
Safety is Not a Choice
Safety guidelines and training programs are neither glamorous nor exciting; however, they’re necessary to save lives. When companies invest in adequate safety protocols such as routine employee training and the regular inspection of equipment and work vehicles, countless lives can be saved and serious injuries can be avoided. Companies must take responsibility for the impact they have on their communities as well as the workplace hazards their workers face daily. Companies who utilize work-related vehicles such as big rigs, tractor-trailers, and cement trucks should routinely inspect and maintain their vehicles as well as secure cargo according to federal guidelines.
Houston Work Accident Attorneys
Workers and the public deserve to be safe while on the roads. If you or loved one was seriously injured or killed in a work vehicle-related accident, you may be entitled to compensation. There is limited time to act following an accident, so please contact Dax F. Garza, P.C. to discuss your case at no charge. We can explain your legal rights and pursue financial compensation on your behalf.