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Latino workers have higher risk of fatal construction accidents

A New York City based organization has released a study that finds a disproportionate number of Latino and immigrant construction workers are being killed on the job. The Center for Popular Democracy reviewed federal investigations of construction site accidents from 2003 to 2011 to compile its report. As reported in local news media, the report found that 74 percent of construction workers who died in construction accidents were U.S. born Latinos or immigrants.

The percentage of immigrant and Latino construction deaths is disproportionately high, an official with the Center for Popular Democracy told the New York Daily News. Census figures show that just 41 percent of New York City construction workers identify as Latino.

One of the reasons for this disparity is that smaller, non-union contractors may be more likely to hire immigrant workers, according to the report. Safety violations may be more common at job sites run by these contractors, the report said.

A spokeswoman for the Center for Popular Democracy says that contractors are not taking steps such as training and safety equipment that are required for worker protection. Immigrant workers may be reluctant to complain. Advocates say these workers may fear losing their jobs if they complain.

The group is urging more funding and staffing for the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It’s also opposing a proposal to amend New York’s Scaffold Law. The law, which holds owners and contractors fully liable for injuries and deaths if they failed to follow safety regulations, is under attack by the construction and insurance industries.

An attorney with experience with construction accident claims can best assess whether an injured worker has a personal injury claim for damages in addition to workers’ compensation benefits.

Source: New York Daily News, Latino, immigrant construction workers more likely to die on job in NYC: study, Erica Pearson, Oct. 24, 2013; Center for Popular Democracy, Fatal Inequality: Workplace Safety Eludes Construction Workers of Color in New York State, October 2013

  • Our law firm handles claims in New York in which construction workers are killed on the job. For more information, visit our page on wrongful death.
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