Mexican Workers at Increased Risk of Carolina Work Injuries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics continues to report an increase in the number of Hispanic and Latino workers who are killed on the job. In fact, government statistics released last week for 2011 show that those from Mexico represented more than 40 percent of fatally injured foreign-born workers killed on the job last year.

Our Hickory workers’ compensation attorneys continue to publish a review of the nation’s work-injury data as we discuss ways employers and employees can better prevent serious and fatal work accidents. 709637_mexican_flag_2_closeup.jpg

More than 700 workers of Hispanic or Latino heritage have been killed in U.S. work accidents in each of the last two years. Nationwide, a total of 4,609 workers were killed on the job in 2011 — meaning about 1 in 6 was foreign born.

And, while the overall number of workplace fatalities has decreased by 20 percent in recent years, the number of fatal work accidents involving Hispanic workers has increased by 20 percent. As a result, theOccupational Safety & Health Administration continues to make Hispanic outreach a priority.

Construction accidents are among the leading causes of death for these workers. Latino workers comprise more than one-third of all construction workers, according to federal statistics. Following its National Action Summit for Latino Workers Health and Safety in 2010, OSHA continues to implement a number of outreach strategies aimed at increasing Latino knowledge of workplace rights.

Statistics show that Latino workers continue to be at increased risk of fall accidents, particularly in the construction field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an average of 40 workers are killed by falls from residential roofs each year — and about one-third of those are Latino workers who often lack basic safety information or protective gear.

“Fall protection saves lives,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. “There are effective means available to protect residential construction workers from falls. We applaud the court’s decision upholding this updated, commonsense directive.”

Fatal 2011 Work Accidents by Race:

White: 3,257
Hispanic: 729
Black: 433
Asian: 113
Native American: 29

Men still account for the vast majority of fatal work accidents — 3,594 deaths last year compared to 1,015 deaths among women. Those ages 45-54 accounted for the most fatal accidents, although statistics show fatal accidents are increasing among younger workers and decreasing among older workers — possibly in response to the massive downsizing and buyouts witnessed during the Great Recession.

Fatal Work Accidents by Age 2011:

Under 16: 10
16-20: 360
20-24: 288
25-34: 704
35-44: 858
45-54: 1,207
55-64: 911
Over 65: 558

Foreign-born workers have the same rights to a safe workplace as those born in the United States. Too often, employers take advantage of a foreign worker’s ignorance of the law and their lack of understanding regarding workplace rights. When a serious or fatal work accident occurs, a workers’ compensation attorney should be contacted — not only to protect the rights of the injured worker, but to help ensure a company is not needlessly endangering other employees.

Injured on the job? Contact the Lee Law Offices today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

More Fatal Work Accidents Reported in North and South Carolina in 2011,
Published by Lee Law Offices, P.A., Oct. 1, 2012.

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