In the United States, the goal is to be a society where people of all races are treated equally and enjoy equal protections under the law. Unfortunately, this is too often not the reality. Recent data shows that there is a significantly higher rate of workplace deaths among Hispanics and African Americans as compared to people of other races. While this most recent report confirms this fact, this is not new information and the statistics for years have shown that minority employees have a higher death rate on the job.
Our Boston work injury attorneys know that employers have an obligation to all employees, regardless of race, color, religion, class or national origin. Every employee deserves a safe workplace and it is the job of employers to provide the protections that are necessary to reduce the number of deaths on the job.
African Americans and Latinos More Likely to Die At Work
According to ABC News, a recent report indicated that Hispanics make up approximately 15 percent of the total labor market in the United States. However, a total of 20 percent of workplace fatalities involve Hispanics, which means that a disproportionate number of Hispanics in the labor market are suffering fatal work injuries. In fact, Hispanics have the highest rate of workplace deaths of all workers.
The number of Hispanics who are killed as a result of workplace injuries also seems to be growing. In 2011, for example, there was a three percent increase in the number of Latino workers who were killed on he job as compared with the prior year. This increase occurred at a time when the overall rate of workplace fatalities has been on a steady decline from a record 6,600 deaths in 1994.
In 2011, 729 of the 4,600 workers killed on the job were Latino workers. This was 22 more deaths than the 707 Latino workers who were killed in 2010. This was the first increase in the number of Hispanic workers killed on the job since 2006. African Americans also saw an increase in the number of on-the-job injuries.
While the number of deaths among both African and American Latino workers rose from 2010 to 2011, the number of fatalities among white workers declined by three percent. This makes the discrepancy between the number of white workers killed on the job and the number of workers of other races killed on the job even larger since the number of deaths among whites has declined while the number of deaths among African Americans and Latinos continues to rise.
Many of the Latino workers who were killed were foreign born workers and most were from Mexico. An estimated 500 of the 729 Latino workers were said to be foreign-born. These workers may not have enjoyed the full protections of the U.S. worker safety laws, especially if some of the workers were low-wage undocumented workers. Employers tend to take advantage of the fact that undocumented immigrants may not be able to pursue workplace safety claims against them, which is one of the reasons why people are calling for immigration reform. It is likely also one of the reasons why more Hispanic workers died as a result of workplace injuries than white workers did over the course of the year.
Unfortunately, these figures are nothing new; Latinos have had a higher workplace fatality rate for the past 15 years. Something needs to change and employers need to start taking the rights of all workers of all races much more seriously.
If you are injured on the job in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your workers’ compensation claim– 1-888-367-2900.
Boston Workplace Dangers Highlighted, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyer Blog, May 13, 2013