Over twenty years ago, the Texas Legislature passed a law creating a 24-hour work safety hotline. Now, the hotline isn’t just open round the clock – it’s also manned by live staffers, according to a recent article in The Texas Tribune.
While many experienced Texas work injury lawyers have known about the hotline, fewer have tried calling it, especially after the work day ends. This is because a glitch in the voicemail system was turning away callers who tried to connect to the hotline after business hours.
The Texas Tribune recently launched an investigation after hearing complaints from workers who tried to report unsafe conditions in their workplaces but couldn’t get through. According to the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation, between May 26 and June 20, 225 calls were made to the hotline. Calls made during business hours got through, but calls made after normal business hours were re-routed to a voicemail message from the Department of Insurance, the parent agency of the Department of Workers’ Compensation. After The Texas Tribune investigated the problem, however, the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation updated the hotline, improving service.
This “quick fix” was followed by a more permanent change. Now, callers who contact the hotline after regular business hours will be forwarded not to a set of recorded greetings and messages but to an answering service. The answering service answers calls in-person, giving workers who call after business hours another human being with whom to leave their reports.
Texas employers are required to post the hotline’s toll-free number, 1-800-452-9595. Complaints to the hotline may be made anonymously, and employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who make a call to report a potential violation of workplace safety laws.