Some employers may hire immigrant workers who do not have proper documentation believing that their employees will not report safety issues because they fear talking to authorities. Cutting corners on safety may save the company money, but it often leads to serious or fatal injuries for workers. What workers need to know is that immigrant status is not relevant when it comes to safety in the workplace.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Act states that a job site must be safe for all workers.
Particularly in industries such as construction, many hazards, such as working several floors up on the outside of a building, are just part of the job. However, employers can lower the risk by providing personal protective equipment. For example, guard rails, harnesses and hard hats can protect workers from the dangers of falls from heights.
Not only must employers provide a safe workplace, but they must also provide training on how to use equipment for safety in a language that their employees understand.
In addition to their right to safety, workers have the right to report an employer who violates safety laws. The employer cannot fire an employee who files a complaint of a dangerous worksite or report the employee to immigration authorities.
When employees sustain injuries on the job, they have the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, if a willfully negligent employer created an unsafe work environment, the employee may be able to hold the employer liable for the damages.