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Fort Worth Woman Killed in Recycling Plant Accident

Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2019 at 8:39 pm    

A Fort Worth woman was tragically killed in a recycling plant accident on January 31.  A stack of one-ton recycled bales were unstable and two of them fell, crushing the woman instantly.  Officials at the recycling plant have said they will cooperate with authorities in the investigation.

A Similar Accident Killed A 42-Year-Old Man Just A Month Earlier

A month before the accident in Fort Worth, a man was also killed in a similar way. In another recycling plant, a group of recycled bales dislodged and fell on a 42-year-old man. These bales weighed 1000 lbs each and crushed him, killing him instantly.  

Whenever these types of fatal accidents happen, companies are required to report them to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). That organization then investigates the incident, how future accidents like those can be prevented, and if it was a preventable or unpreventable accident.   

Can The Family Of The Employee That Was Killed Receive Death Benefits?

Fortunately, the government requires companies to carry workman’s compensation insurance. This insurance is designed to protect employees in the case of a work-related injury or death. If they are injured then this type of insurance can cover medical costs and lost wages. When a death occurs it means that a spouse or children will usually be eligible to receive benefits.

Some of the purposes that the money received can be used for include covering the burial expenses of the deceased. For the widowed spouse, it can be used to pay for daily expenses to help replace the lost wages of the deceased until the living spouse remarries. In some cases, the living spouse can get a lump sum compensation.

Most people agree that the workman’s compensation is beneficial.  Although one of the primary drawbacks is the fact that under workman’s compensation the family of the deceased is usually not able to sue the company. This means that even if the company was found to be negligent, the family may not be able to sue for any additional compensation even though the accident was the company’s fault.

Compensation and Justice for a Loved One

Tragedies like these are devastating for a victim’s family. These accidents are often caused by negligence or unenforced work safety rules.   If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a workplace accident, call us for a free consultation.  You may be entitled to compensation.  We’ve been handling workplace accidents and explosions since 1983.  Call our lawyers at Williams Hart today at (888) 220-0640 to learn more about work-related deaths or injuries and what can be done to receive compensation and justice.

Local Construction Worker Died After Falling from Amazon Warehouse

Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2019 at 9:32 am    

construction worker died after falling from an Amazon warehouse

A construction worker died after falling from an Amazon warehouse. The Kern County coroner identified 42-year-old Brien James Daunt of Rancho Cucamonga as the victim of the incident.

The Kern County Fire Department confirmed that the victim was pronounced dead after the accident on Saturday. Daunt fell off a warehouse structure located off Petrol Road near Meadows Field Airport.

Battalion Chief Jason Schillinger said that safety is a number one priority of facilities with a lot of construction. “So from a Kern County Fire Department standpoint we need to make sure we stay safe and individuals around us stay safe.”

Further details are currently under investigation by OSHA.  

A Brief Summary of Work-Related Deaths

In 2016 the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released a report indicating a number of deaths and fatal injuries that occur on different workplaces. A total of 5,200 of Americans died, with 14 people suffering fatal work injuries everyday that year.

Most Common Causes of Workplace Fatalities

  • Transportation – 40%
  • Violence – 17%
  • Slips, trips, and falls – 16%
  • Contact with equipment – 15%
  • Contact with harmful substances/environments – 10%

Most Common Occupations with the Highest Workplace Fatalities

  • Sales drivers/Truck drivers – 918
  • Farmers/ranchers – 260
  • Grounds maintenance – 217
  • First-line construction supervisors and extraction workers – 134
  • Roofers – 101

Transportation sectors are the most common occupation areas with the highest number of fatalities, followed by violence from people or animals. Contact with harmful substances/environments came in at the last spot with 10% fatalities. Drivers are more prone to accidents, along with farmers and agricultural managers, while grounds maintenance came in third.

Looking at the Numbers

  • 50,000 to 60,000 workers died from occupational diseases
  • Over 5,000 workers were killed in the job, a 4,000 increase in the previous year.
  • States with the highest job fatality rates: Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota.
  • 150 workers died each day from hazardous working conditions.
Occupations with the Highest Workplace Fatalities

Safety for American Workers


Safety is still an issue among American workers, with accidents increasing significantly since 2016. The AFL-CIO released a report that shows evidence of state’s safety and health protections for workers. Accidents, injuries, and deaths among workers have remained high.

Companies should always ensure employees are safe in their workplace and prevent events that can cause accidents in the future. OSHA has provided a number of safety and prevention programs to help mitigate work-related accidents, as well as workplace violence.

Work-Related Death and Injury – Bringing the Law to Your Side

When a person dies or gets injured at work, it can take a toll on their family. Work-related deaths often happen due to negligence of another party. Taking legal action is the only way to protect your family and get justice for your loved one. Talk to the attorneys at Williams Hart and let our experienced work injury lawyers in Texas help deliver justice to your case. Visit our Houston office today or call (713) 352-7071.



A Mother is Suing EPA for a Chemical that Killed Her Son

Posted on Monday, January 21st, 2019 at 9:29 am    

Kevin Hartley died in 2017 while working
Photo credits to: Hartley Family

Wendy Hartley was once “cautiously optimistic” that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would ban numerous uses of a toxic chemical that killed her son. Now she’s suing the agency to ensure it happens.

Hartley met with the former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt in May to talk about the death of her son 21-year-old Kevin Hartley, a trained contractor who died in 2017 due to exposure to paint stripper fumes while refinishing a bathtub.

Even though the EPA under the Trump administration postponed banning methylene chloride in paint strippers, Hartley says that she and other environmentalists thought Pruitt was “receptive to what we had to say.”

The EPA announced the day after their meeting that they mean to finalize a ban that has been initially proposed under President Barack Obama. Pruitt reiterated that pledge during a Senate hearing a week later.

Hartley is one of the two mothers of men who died from the airborne toxic compound and are now suing the EPA. They made a team with the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and Vermont Public Interest Research Group to file a lawsuit in the US District Court in Vermont on Monday.

The lawsuit stated a decision in December by the EPA to move along with the banning of chemical use by consumers, but still allow commercial consumers and operators to use the product, providing they undergo training.

This didn’t sit well with public health advocates who want to push a more comprehensive ban.  Liz Hitchcock, director of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families said that this is basically a breach of trust.

Hartley and the others argue the EPA is obligated under law to limit the use of any chemical that causes a risk of harm to one’s health. Researchers of the agency during the Obama administration deemed that it was too dangerous for most contractors to remove paint with methylene chloride. A total of 49 people in the United States died of exposure to the toxic chemical during paint and coat removal between 1976 and 2016, according to the EPA

A New EPA Administrator

Since July, acting chief Andrew Wheeler is in charge of the agency after the White House forced Pruitt to resign due to a number of investigations concerning ethics.

Safe Chemicals had sent a request to meet with Wheeler after his designation. The planned meeting did not happen due to issues with his schedule. The Environmental Defense Fund also requested a meeting in July, but that meeting didn’t happen either.

EPA spokesman John Konkus wrote via email that the acting administrator is looking forward to continuing to work with the EDF in reaching out on the regulation and for their help arranging a meeting with family members.

The holdup for this motion has caused three people in addition to Kevin Hartley to die of methylene chloride fumes. Manufacturers of the chemical have also publicly push the EPA to stop the ban. Wendy Hartley already sees a long court fight due to the influence of these manufacturers saying that she’s sure “they’re going to drag this out because that’s what the chemical industry wants.”

Many Americans die due to exposure of of harmful substances in their place of work

Working with Harmful Chemicals

Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most common concerns American workers face. Different toxic chemicals pose a threat to human health and unexpected releases of these chemicals have been reported for years.

The Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) has a list of hazardous chemicals to help industries and employees identify these chemicals and ways to contain them.

Common Hazardous Substances

  • Acids
  • Caustic substances
  • Disinfectants
  • Glues
  • Heavy metals – lead, mercury, aluminium, and cadmium
  • Pesticides
  • Solvents
  • Paint
  • Petroleum products

Possible Side Effects of Exposures

Hazardous substances can be inhaled, splashed onto one’s skin or eyes or swallowed.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Birth defects
  • Poisoning
  • Lung, kidney or liver disorders
  • Poisoning
  • Headaches
  • Chemical burns
  • Skin rashes
  • Nervous system disorders

Read more about hazardous substances and safety at Better Health.

Getting Help from a Trusted Law Firm

Many Americans die due to exposure of harmful substances in their place of work every year. Exposure to toxic chemicals due to negligence of an employer is one of the most common cases that is still a major concern today. If your loved one is one of these people and you want to get justice in their behalf, our lawyers at Williams Hart are always ready to help.

We’ve been serving Houston clients for years and helping them with cases such as carbon monoxide poisoning, wrongful death, and workplace accidents. Contact us today to get started.



Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident?

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