According to new Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the rate of Latino construction worker fatalities on job sites has continued to rise from 2010-2013. This alarming rate has coincided with a declining fatality rate for non-Latinos. This disproportionate rate of fatalities to total industry population has leaders searching for answers.
As recent as 2010 this trend was reversed, as Latinos made up 23% of construction deaths versus a 24% portion of the industry in total. However, this rate has ballooned to a high of 29% of deaths in 2013, according to the most recent workplace fatality data available from the bureau. Factors for these numbers can include a lack of safety awareness, inadequate training, more dangerous job placement within a crew, and a shortage of union coverage for undocumented workers.
A more comprehensive study conducted by The American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) indicates that unintentional injuries continue to be the third leading cause of death among U.S. Hispanic Latinos. This not only includes construction worker injuries but also jobs such as pruning, tree trimming, and other occupations in the landscape and oil and gas sectors.
Solutions for these disturbing rates must begin from the top of the industry. Proper training initiated by the owner of a firm for the contractors and workers can increase awareness and emphasize the importance of community and advocacy groups. The increase only with Latino workers implies a cultural or language issue that can be remedied with heightened organization and communication amongst all levels of the industry.
Benny Agosto, Jr. is a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in Houston, Texas. For over 65 years, Abraham Watkins has successfully represented injured people and families who fall victim to catastrophes. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to obtain just compensation their clients. For more information, please contact the office of Benny Agosto, Jr. at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, by letter at 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at (713) 222-7211.