hispanic and latino fatalities in the workplace

Hispanic & Latino Fatalities in the Workplace

Each year, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration gathers important information about many different workplaces. They do research and come up with statistics that bring new advances to light in the workplace – for instance, what safety problems may be on the rise and what can be done to prevent workplace accidents. They have found that, in 2014 alone, 4,679 workers were killed on the job, which comes out to almost 90 a week. This may seem like a small number when you are comparing it to how many people are working in the United States at any given time; however, a loss is still a loss nonetheless.

Construction accidents are gaining popularity due to a need for these types of workers. However, they are also some of the most dangerous conditions and pose the higher risks. There are four types of accidents known as the “Fatal Four,” which are Falls, Electrocutions, Struck by Objects, and Caught in Between Equipment. We are also finding a rise in Hispanic and Latino workers in construction jobs. However, with that comes the risk for more accidents. We find that, in 2014, 789 Hispanic or Latino workers were killed from work-related injuries, which is more than 15 deaths a week or two Latino workers killed every single day of the year (OSHA).  

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Latinos have experienced the largest increase in fatal work injuries in 2013. This was a nine percent jump from 2012. We find that nearly 820 Latino workers died on-the-job in 2013 compared to 750 Latino workers in 2012. However, many of us ask ourselves, “Why are these numbers on the rise?” It’s simple, really – Latinos now account for nearly one-quarter of construction workers. While construction deaths are on the rise, so are the amount of Hispanic and Latino workers, which balances out the two.

What Leads to These Unfortunate Deaths?

Many think that there are barriers getting in the way of safety in the workplace. Latino immigrants now make up the majority of Latino workers losing their lives in the workplace. Perhaps labor laws are being ignored. In fact, statistics say that Latinos are more likely to work in low-wage occupations where labor laws are seen violated all the time. Many of these Latinos see job security as something they may never have, so they put themselves into situations where they work for their families for very little to assure they will keep a job.

Another issue may be language barriers. If there are communication issues in training, safety may go ignored. There could also be barriers put on the ability to report unsafe working conditions (NCLR).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have good record-keeping numbers on Hispanics killed in the workplace. We find that many of the accidents affecting Hispanic and Latino workers are, indeed, caused by construction accidents and unsafe conditions. For instance, take a couple into consideration:

  • In 2013, a Hispanic scrap yard worker died when struck by a material handler at a metal recycling facility in South Carolina.
  • In 2012, a Hispanic worker in North Carolina fell from a residential roof, ending in death.
  • In 2009, a Hispanic worker died when he fell from a stepladder while cleaning windows in North Carolina.
  • In 2004, a Hispanic flagger was killed after being run over by a dump truck in North Carolina (CDC).

The sad fact of the matter is that many Hispanic immigrants coming into the United States unskilled and illegally are being hired for some of the most dangerous jobs. For instance, we aren’t just seeing a rise in Hispanics in construction work. No, we are seeing them in roofing, taxi, street vendor, electrician, police officers, and grounds maintenance worker positions as well. According to the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program, between 1992 and 2007, Hispanic workers accounted for 46% of all work-related fatalities in Los Angeles County (Coven). Are these numbers enough to take action and provide better safety to workers?

If you have been injured on-the-job, you have options. Perhaps you have required surgery or immense therapy for the injuries sustained and are seeking monetary compensation. This is where a skilled attorney comes in to help you get exactly what you deserve. Call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi today to speak to an attorney about your options. We will work with you, no matter what your claim.


Works Cited

OSHA. United States Department of Labor: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, 2016. Web. Accessed Jan 12, 2016. https://www.osha.gov/oshstats/commonstats.html

NCLR. National Council of La Raza, 2015. Web. Accessed Jan 12, 2016. http://blog.nclr.org/2015/04/22/new-data-show-more-latino-workers-being-killed-on-the-job-despite-decline-in-fatal-injuries-for-overall-workforce/

CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016. Web. Accessed Jan 12, 2016. http://wwwn.cdc.gov/NIOSH-FACE/Default.cshtml?state=ALL&Incident_Year=ALL&Category2=0009&Submit=Submit

Rob Coven. Market To Latinos, 2012. Web. Accessed Jan 12, 2016.