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Texas hotel worker killed after falling down elevator shaft

When you go to work each day, you have a right to be kept safe from unreasonable hazards. Of course, dangerous workplaces still exist in Texas, and sadly cause many preventable injuries and deaths each year.

Last week, a housekeeper at a San Antonio hotel was killed when she fell six stories down an elevator shaft. Subsequent reports revealed that the hotel elevator was overdue for inspections at the time, which may have prevented the accident.

The accident occurred at the Crockett Hotel, where the 65-year-old woman had worked since 1999. The hotel has three elevators in total, all of which were more than two weeks overdue on annual inspections required by state law, the Houston Chronicle reported.

According to a spokeswoman from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, the elevators at Crockett were to be inspected by Dec. 14. She said that they elevators at the Menger Hotel, which is owned by the same company, were also overdue for inspection.

The spokeswoman said that the elevators at both hotels were shut down until they could be examined by licensed inspectors. Apparently, all of the elevators passed inspection and were reopened, except for the service elevator involved in the accident.

The inspection into that elevator could take weeks, officials said. According to the accident victim's daughter, who also works at the Crockett Hotel, the service elevator has had problems in the past. She told the Houston Chronicle that the hotel didn't do enough to keep its workers safe.

If that is true, the hotel could face serious liability in a wrongful death lawsuit. Not only that, the Department of Licensing and Regulation spokeswoman said that the hotel could also face fines for failing to meet inspection requirements.

Source: The Houston Chronicle, "Inspection overdue at hotel with elevator fatality," John Tedesco, Dec. 30, 2011

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