Skilled Craftsmen of Texas, Inc. v. Texas Workers’ Compensation Comm’n

158 S.W.3d 89 (Tex. App.-Austin 2003, pet. dism'd)

On behalf of Skilled Craftsmen of Texas, Inc., we obtained a declaration from the Third Court of Appeals in Austin that the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Hazardous Employer Program is pre-empted by federal law. After the company was designated as a “hazardous employer” by the Workers’ Health and Safety Division of the Commission, we filed a declaratory judgment action against the Commission seeking a declaration that the state’s Hazardous Employer Program was preempted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). Finding that the Hazardous Employer Program implicitly regulated workplace safety issues and, thus, was preempted by OSHA, the Court stated, “The Program intimidates and coerces private employers to take action to correct occupational health and safety issues in order to reduce workplace injuries.” The Court’s decision effectively eliminated the program as applied to private employers in Texas.