Dangerous working conditions continue to threaten the health and safety of employees. While work-related injury or disease could affect any worker, some industries and individuals are at a higher risk.
Recent studies and reports indicate that minorities and immigrant workers in construction, maintenance and other hazardous industries are at greater risk of accidents, injury, and fatality. Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys are experienced in representing victims of injury and death, including minorities, immigrants and their families impacted by workplace accidents.
The Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) is the agency charged with regulating workplace injury and creating safe working conditions to protect workers. OSHA has the authority to create laws and regulations and to enforce these regulations by assigning penalties when a company or organization is in violation of OSHA standards. OSHA is responsible for overseeing workplace conditions, including equipment, training, and safety policies. When a company fails to meet guidelines or violates a regulation, OSHA can fine that agency, even if no accident or injury occurred.
Foreign-born workers in the United States constitute 16% of the labor market. These workers have a higher likelihood of working in service occupations including production, transportation, moving occupations, natural resources development industries, maintenance, and construction. Nearly half of this foreign-born labor force market is Hispanic.
As we mentioned in a previous post, more blacks and Hispanics are injured on the job. This may because they make up a higher portion of workers in dangerous industries. Undocumented workers in these industries may also be less likely to speak up about OSHA violations or other known dangerous working conditions. Many undocumented workers are worried about deportation. They may also not realize that they are also protected by OSHA and can file civil actions against negligent individuals or entities when they suffer an injury.
While some critics of OSHA suggest that its standards limit hiring capabilities, the agency has saved lives and prevented injury to millions of American workers. Despite this suggestion, it has been proven that OSHA inspections can also save companies billions of dollars in fees and costs for workers’ compensation, lost hours and the lost productivity that can occur after a workplace injury or fatality.
Workers who are in fishing, logging, construction and the oil industries are at the greatest risk of fatality. In any industry, companies must be held to high standards to protect the interests of employees. Worksites that remain unexamined or fall below OSHA standards could create a serious hazard for workers resulting in permanent injury or wrongful death. Though occupational fatality rates have declined since the establishment of OSHA, there is some evidence that safety conditions are in decline. According to data collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there are about 13 deaths per day caused by work-accidents.
Greater workplace danger can put additional minorities and immigrants at a greater risk.
If you or someone you love was injured in a workplace accident, it is critical to involve an experienced advocate as soon as possible. Independent and OSHA investigations can be critical to proving negligence in a case involving workplace injury.
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.
More Blog Entries:
Minorities at Greatest Risk of Workplace Injury in New England, May 27, 2012
Boston Workplace Dangers Highlighted, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyer Blog, May 13, 2013