Texas Workers Are Dying In The Summer Heat, And Companies Aren’t Being Held Accountable

A Republic Services worker in Houston assists with garbage collection on a summer afternoon. The company has been fined in the wake of heat-related deaths of workers but says it has implemented prevention policies. This worker was not interviewed for the story. (Lucio Vasquez/Houston Public Media)

The number of workers who have died of heat illness in Texas has nearly doubled in the last decade. But the state has not implemented comprehensive protections for workers toiling in high temperatures.

FIJ Grantees, a team at Columbia Journalism Investigations, investigated two companies, Hellas Construction and Republic Services, who violated safety agreements with the U.S. Department of Labor after workers died of heat illness at their Texas worksites. But the agency slashed penalties against these companies even after additional workers perished from the heat.