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African-American and Latino workers are more likely to be injured at work

Construction worker operating a back hoeExperienced workplace injury attorneys examine the divide

According to a nationwide study, Latino immigrants and Black workers were found to be at greater risk for workplace injury. Conducted by USC and Boston University researchers and published in Health Affairs, this study showed that Latino immigrant and Black workers were injured more often on the job. With many working high-risk jobs such as roofers, the study showed that maintaining a steady income can cost more than it pays.

Black and Latino workers make up a growing portion of the labor force, and often find themselves in more dangerous jobs than white workers. Construction workers and roofers have some of the highest injury rates, especially for Latino workers. However, the rate at which these injuries are reported is shockingly low. This shouldn't be the case. The trial attorneys at Giampa Law have been representing injured workers for years. No language, color or creed should create a barrier between a worker and their rights.

Who makes up the workforce?

Between 2009 and 2013, the Latino population in the labor force grew by 13%. Between those years, 70% of the fatally injured workforce were Latino as well as foreign-born. Language barriers often accounted for insufficient training, and discriminatory hiring procedures were often suspected, especially when employees held an undocumented status.  Latinos and undocumented immigrants are less likely to file injury reports, despite being eligible for workers' compensation in New York City. This is largely due to stigma and fear that their lives will be negatively impacted.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , Hispanic and Latino men suffer the largest amount of fatal injuries at work, notably in the construction industry.  In 2015 alone, over 900 Hispanic or Latino workers were fatally injured, marking a 12% increase from the previous year, and African-American workers suffered 495 fatal work injuries. Hispanic women aren't much better off. Most injuries and fatalities are found in cleaning and housekeeping jobs, sales occupations, and maintenance. Fighting for compensation can be difficult in these cases, but every worker deserves justice. That's why experienced legal counsel is so important.

Risk Factors

It has been noted that the risk of injury for Latino, Hispanic and Black workers rose when other demographic information was factored into studies, such as levels of education. Though these people may work in some of the most dangerous positions on construction sites or in labor trades, a lack of economic opportunities or access to education means higher paying jobs aren't always within reach.

"Disparities in economic opportunities for minorities lead them to take more hazardous jobs that raise their risk of injury and disability," noted author Seth Seabury, director of the Keck-Schaeffer Initiative for Population Health at the USC Schaeffer for Health Policy and Economics. "It speaks towards some systematic inequities in the labor market." A national study performed by USC and Boston University researchers confirmed that these groups were more likely to suffer from work-related disabilities, and work in jobs with high risk of injury.

These differences in economic opportunities may lead to riskier work positions, and higher rates of occupational illnesses in African-American and Latino workers as well.

  • Foreign-born Hispanic or Latino workers had higher workplace injury rates than white men: 13.7% vs 11.8%
  • In the 50-64 age range, African-American workers held a disability rate of 4.4% compared to 2.5% of white workers.

Justice for All

Intersectionality factors into so many social and economic issues impacting the lives of every employee within the labor force. Contact us if a workplace injury has impacted the life of you or a loved one. When working in the same field, all employees are held with equal entitlement to workers' compensation and the opportunity to recover from workplace injuries or illnesses. The legal team at Giampa Law knows of the elevated risk of injury African American, Hispanic and Latino workers face, and knows that any injury is a valid one. If you or a loved one has been hurt on the job, get in touch with us immediately for a free case consultation, in English or Español upon request. You need a fearless attorney who'll fight for your deserved compensation, and one you can trust.

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