In at least one area of the United States, the elevated death rate among construction workers is thought to be at least somewhat connected to the rise in immigration. This can be attributed to the fact that, in many sections of the country, the bulk of workers on any given product may be made up of immigrants.
Scaffolding collapses, falls, and other construction accidents are occurring at higher rates today than ever before. In New York City, 74% of the victims of these fatal accidents were either Latino citizens or immigrants of Latino origin. It should be common sense that people are not prone to accidents or death simply because of their ethnicity. Why, then, is the rate of fatalities so disproportionately skewed towards Latinos?
It is widely recognized that immigrant workers are more likely to work for contractors who fail to maintain adequate workplace conditions. This may be attributed to a lack of English language skills, a lack of knowledge with regards to safety standards, or simply desperation to make money legally in any way possible.
The number of immigrants who are construction workers will vary from state to state and job site to job site. No matter how these workers are dispersed, one thing cannot be denied: Latino citizens and immigrant workers are at a higher risk of injury and death in the construction industry.
Another contributor to these accidents may be reluctance on the part of immigrants to report safety violations that they are well aware of. Rather than lose their jobs, or even a day’s wages, these workers muddle through, hoping to not fall victim to greedy contractors who care nothing of worker safety.
Examples from New York City alone:
- A worker pouring concrete was crushed when the building’s fourth floor collapsed.
- A worker removing pipe from storage fell when the warehouse suddenly shifted.
- A worker on a ladder touched a live electrical wire and fell 92 feet to the ground.
Each of these accidents could have been attributed to worker neglect but, upon researching the events, authorities located numerous workplace safety violations at each site. Had these violations been reported, the lives of these three men could have potentially been saved.
Regardless of your citizenship, if you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in a construction accident, we want to help. Contact the law office of Auger & Auger as soon as possible to begin discussing your case. Legal immigrants are entitled to protection under the law, as are those people traveling or working on a visa. Do not assume that you are not entitled to compensation for injury or loss. Contact our offices today to begin the process of getting what you are legally entitled to.