The headlines say it all: “Young Hispanic Construction Workers Are the Most Vulnerable in the United States,” “Hispanics most vulnerable to construction injuries” and “Latino worker fatality rate climbs, industry at odds over solutions.”
Statistics show that Hispanic and Latino construction workers in New York City and around the country are more likely than their co-workers to get injured or killed on the job. Not only that, but Hispanic and Latino workers’ fatality rate has actually increased in recent years while the fatality rates of non-Hispanic and non-Latino construction workers has declined.
It is well known that Hispanic and Latino workers make up a disproportionately large segment of the construction workforce. For example, while Latinos accounted for approximately 16 percent of the total American workforce in 2014, more than a quarter of all construction jobs around the country were held by Latinos. But, these numbers do not explain why Hispanic and Latino workers face a higher rate of injuries and fatalities.
So, what does?
Why are Hispanic and Latino Construction Workers More Likely to Get Hurt or Killed on the Job?
Experts point to three main factors that likely account for Hispanic and Latino employees being more at risk than construction workers from other ethnic backgrounds:
- Limited Access to Training and Assistance – Construction workers who speak Spanish often have limited access to safety training. Although federal law requires construction companies to provide Spanish-language training to Spanish-speaking employees, many employers fail to meet this obligation. Plus, when Spanish-speaking workers have questions on the job site, they are often unable to get the help they need from inspectors, foremen and co-workers who only understand and speak English.
- More Dangerous Occupations – Hispanic and Latino construction workers may be more willing accept the types of dangerous jobs that put them at greater risk for serious and fatal injuries. Immigrant workers who are only focused on sending money back home often take on high-risk jobs, and in many cases Spanish-speaking workers and undocumented immigrants may feel as though they are unable to voice concerns over hazardous working conditions.
- Lack of Emphasis on Safety at Smaller Construction Companies – Finally, the statistics show that immigrant workers from Hispanic and Latino backgrounds are more likely to work for smaller, typically residential, construction companies. These companies often do not have the resources or the policies and procedures necessary to ensure their workers’ safety – at least not to the same degree as the larger commercial operations.
There is No Excuse for Putting Lives on the Line
Of course, none of these are excuses for construction companies to put human lives on the line. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that some construction companies may take advantage of undocumented and non-English speaking immigrant workers – putting them to work in dangerous jobs with minimal pay and without adequate training.
If you are a Hispanic or Latino construction worker who has been injured on the job in New York City, or if you have lost a loved one in a fatal accident, we encourage you to contact us so that we can help you stand up for your legal rights.
Gorayeb & Associates | New York City Construction Accident Attorneys
The New York City construction accident attorneys at Gorayeb & Associates have recovered nearly $1 billion for their clients. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a construction accident in New York City, we will fight to win the compensation you deserve. Get started with a free consultation – call (877) 377-3726 or contact us online now.