The number of Hispanic workers who die on the job has risen, even as the overall number of workplace deaths has declined, according to federal statistics. Hispanic worker deaths increased from 533 in 1992 to 937 in 2007 — a 76% jump. In the same period, total fatalities in all jobs nationwide fell from 6,217 to 5,657, according to the data. The 2007 tally, the latest available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, followed a record 990 Hispanic deaths in 2006.
More Hispanics in the workforce can account for some of the increase in deaths, according to Peg Seminario, safety and health director of the AFL-CIO. In 1998, Hispanics represented 10.4% of the U.S. labor force, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2007 they accounted for 14%. Lack of training, poor communication skills and exploitation of workers also lead to accidents and deaths on the job.
The Obama Administration says that reducing injuries and fatalities at construction sites nationwide shall be the immediate goal of the federal government. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, in a speech to the American Society of Safety Professionals, said clearly that the “The U.S. Department of Labor is now back in the enforcement business.” That’s good news for American workers.
Source: USA Today
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