Most people know that construction is a rather risky career path. There are many dangerous elements to a construction job, including the potential to fall from a height, heavy machinery, moving supplies and the potential for an electrocution. Anyone who works in this field could end up severely hurt or worse. However, certain people who work in construction face more statistical risk than others in this industry.
A recent report published jointly by American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that young, immigrant Hispanic construction workers are at the highest level of risk for injury or death while at work. For those who fall into this demographic or those who love and depend on someone who does, understanding the potential risks is critical.
Hispanic construction workers have the highest fatality rates
For the average full-time worker, the risk of a fatal accident is roughly 4.0 people per 100,000 full-time workers. However, for Hispanic immigrant workers, that mortality rate increases to 5.9 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers. In other words, Hispanic immigrants workers have nearly 150 percent the risk for death at work when compared with the general full-time work population.
Consider that construction workers have one of the highest mortality rates for any industry, and it’s easy to see why an increase from that level of risk is concerning for officials and workers alike. Recognizing risk factors can help young Hispanic construction workers make informed decisions about the potential risks in any given job or gig.
Larger companies tend to be safer and better equipped
One of the risk factors that the ASSE and NIOSH report noted was the size of the employer. For Hispanic workers, businesses with fewer than 20 employees posed the highest level of risk. These small companies may be more willing to bend or even break workplace safety laws. Workers for smaller companies may not receive adequate training for safety purposes or have access to the best possible safety equipment and work machinery.
Workers under the age of 25 are also at elevated risk when compared with the general construction worker population. These aspiring professionals may not have adequate experience to know when a situation is dangerous. Combining that lack of hands-on experience with a lack of proper training could result in an otherwise preventable tragedy.
All injured workers have the right to compensation
It’s important for Hispanic construction workers and their loved ones to understand their rights. Those rights include the right to a safe workplace and the right to workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of immigration status. New York workers’ compensation can offer disability and death benefits to workers who get hurt on the job, even if they did not have proper legal authorization to seek the job where they suffered injuries.