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Fatal workplace accident rates for Latino workers increase

Construction is a very important part of the economy in Massachusetts. It is often considered a marker of an expanding economy as businesses grow. Unfortunately, some reports indicate that construction is one of the most treacherous jobs in this country, and workers could become involved in a deadly workplace accident. Latino workers appear to be affected more than others.

Concerns about Latino safety have been raised after the Bureau of Labor of Statistics reported that Latinos are killed in construction accidents at a rate that is disproportionate with their overall employment numbers. In 2010, Latinos represented 24 percent of workers in the privately owned construction industry and 23 percent of fatalities. However, in 2011, while they represented the same percentage of workers, the number of fatalities climbed to 26 percent. This trend continued for both 2012 and 2013.

The fact that the number of Latinos are killed at a higher rate than they are employed is concerning. While there are a variety of different factors that could have caused this increase, some speculate that one cause deals with lack of availability of training materials in Spanish. Although employers are required to provide training materials in a language that employees will understand, it is often difficult for Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors to ensure compliance with these laws.

It is extremely important to ensure that job sites are safe for all people. Regardless, families dealing with the loss of a loved one as a result of a workplace accident in Massachusetts may be facing a difficult financial future as a result of their loss. They may be entitled to workers' compensation death benefits to help with funeral costs, medical bills and lost wages, but many people have found it difficult to ensure they receive the compensation to which they may be entitled. Fortunately, there is help available from those with experience concerning the compensation process.

Source: constructiondive.com, "Latino worker fatality rate climbs, industry at odds over solutions", Emily Peiffer, April 8, 2015

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