Construction can be dangerous work, with 75 workers per year being killed in accidents in the state of New York alone. However, recent studies have shown that workers of Hispanic descent are more likely to die in construction accidents than workers of any other ethnic group. A report prepared by the Center for Popular Democracy shows that Latinos account for 74% of construction fatalities.
This percentage is very high considering that Latinos only make up 41% of the construction industry workforce in New York. Workers recently staged a protest about on-the-job safety issues after a fellow construction worker was killed by a collapsing roof. The protestors claimed that their employers cut corners to save money by using poor quality building materials and didn’t invest enough in safety training.
Safety violations often go unreported among undocumented workers because of the fear of being fired or deported. When the violations are reported, they do garner fines for construction companies, especially if a worker is injured or killed. However, it is reported that these safety violation fines are very low, only $2,000 for an injured worker and, shockingly, only $12,000 if a worker is killed due to a safety violation.
With such a minimal emphasis put on job safety by both law makers and employers, it is no wonder there are so many construction accidents in New York. When a construction worker is injured, or even killed, on the job due to a safety violation, the good news is that workers and their families do have the right to compensation. The injured worker or family of the deceased can file for workers’ compensation benefits to help defray costs from lost wages and medical or end-of-life expenses.
Source: Latinos Post, Latinos Have The Highest Mortality Rate In Accidents Of The New York Construction Industry, Jorge Calvillo, Feb. 26, 2014