Based on a recent analysis of federal data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the construction industry on the whole is becoming somewhat safer, the number of on the job fatalities among Latino construction workers has been on the increase. Not only that, but the fault seems to lie with their employers.
According to the researchers who analyzed the data, between 2010 and 2013 the number of fatalities among Latino construction workers increased from 181 to 231. While the number of construction industry deaths overall saw a slight rise, the increase in Latino deaths accounted for almost the entire increase.
Researchers said those numbers demonstrate the disproportionate rate at which Latinos at construction sites are dying. They also suggests that it’s likely that many of the fatalities involve construction workers who are undocumented immigrants and have been hired to work in some of the most dangerous areas of construction in the place of Americans, and that they’re not necessarily being paid more despite the increased risk.
There are many reasons for concerns about this development. Often, such workers don’t have many alternatives, so they take the first job they’re offered. Often, they take positions with unlicensed contractors. Because there are very few resources in place to regulate unlicensed contractors, and because they are afraid to complain about anything, for fear of being deported, they are quite possibly paying a terrible price for that.
That problem may stick around for awhile, unless more can be done to monitor more contractors and construction sites. Right now, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) simply doesn’t have the resources to do their job properly. Nationally, the number of OSHA inspectors is barely enough to ensure the inspection of every worksite in the country once every 139 years. Another problem is the low fines that are hardly a deterrent. On average, even when a company is fined for a fatality, the amount is less than $10,000.
Even though federal and state governments are not doing everything they can to make sure it’s the case, all employers in the country, including those in Texas, are required to maintain the safest environment possible for all of their workers. When they fail to do that, and someone is injured or killed, they can be found negligent, and liable for a lot more than $10,000.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed while on the job at any Texas workplace, please contact the Texas Worksite Injury Lawyers at Hill Law Firm as soon as possible, so that we can help protect your rights under the law.