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Texas Widens National Lead In Workplace Deaths

A total of 524 people were killed on the job in Texas last year. The state’s death toll rose 3 percent from 2013, even as workplace fatalities in second-ranked California declined.

Texas once again suffered more on-the-job deaths than any other state in the country, according to preliminary numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some 524 people died as a result of workplace injuries in Texas in 2014.The state’s total is more than 50 percent higher than that of second-place California.

Nationwide, deaths among workers over 55 climbed to their highest total since the BLS began keeping records of workplace fatalities in 1992.

The pattern held for Texas as well, says Woody Hill of Texas Mutual, the state’s leading provider of workers’ compensation insurance.

“You know, we have a lot of older individuals working in oilfields and construction, and there’s a lot of hazardous work within Texas,” Hill says.

Much of the rise relates to people working longer, or returning to work, when the price of oil was still high and wages were climbing rapidly. Hill expects those numbers will drop in the months ahead, as the effects of lower oil prices and associated layoffs work their way through the energy sector. He says that his own company has seen claims for transportation deaths tied to the oil industry decline for the past nine months.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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