“Every 7 seconds, a worker is injured on the job.” – National Safety Council
“There were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2018, unchanged from 2017.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
While these numbers are sobering in and of themselves, what they don’t show is that Hispanic workers, as well as other minority laborers, tend to have higher rates of injury compared to white/non-minority workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 961 Hispanic/Latinx fatalities in 2018, 67% of which were foreign-born. A 2017 USC research article entitled “Racial And Ethnic Differences In The Frequency Of Workplace Injuries And Prevalence Of Work-Related Disability” explored the possible causes of correlation between ethnicity and elevated workplace risk. According to the researchers:
Most evidence suggests that members of minority populations face higher workplace injury risk…. Racial disparities in workplace injury risk are strongly influenced by differences in the availability of different types of jobs according to race and ethnicity. For example, evidence suggests that immigrant Hispanic construction workers face elevated risk of fatal and nonfatal injuries, compared to native-born Hispanic or non-Hispanic workers…. Foreign-born Hispanic workers had the highest expected workplace injury rates but comparatively low disability rates…. A key implication of our findings is that systematic differences in economic opportunities are strongly associated with members of minority groups’ being subjected to greater workplace injury risk. Unfortunately, these disparities reflect a long history of racial/ethnic minority groups’ facing the worst job conditions.
In conclusion, the study noted that “disparities in economic opportunities for minorities lead them to take more hazardous jobs that raise their risk of injury and disability.”
This reality is one of the reasons that Castan & Lecca is passionate about representing disadvantaged workers in workers’ comp and personal injury cases. While we can’t single-handedly change the entire economic system inequalities, we can advocate for protection and compensation for those most vulnerable to risk and under-representation.