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Why working construction is especially dangerous for young Hispanic immigrants

Work accidents and the painful and debilitating injuries that often result, don't discriminate and any worker regardless of profession, age or health can be adversely impacted. However, a recent report reveals that workers in certain industries, like construction, are more prone to suffering injuries and, specifically, young Hispanic construction workers are especially vulnerable.

The report, released by the American Society of Safety Engineers and the National institute for Occupational Safety and Health, shows that Hispanic immigrants age 25 and younger who work for small construction companies are more likely to suffer injury or death than "almost any other employee segment or industry in the U.S."

Statistical data from 2013 shows that an estimated two million immigrants work in the U.S. construction industry. Of these immigrant workers, approximately 1.64 million are of Hispanic descent and many speak little to no English and are employed at small construction companies. Consequently, these young Hispanic immigrants often lack construction experience and small employers often fail to provide adequate job training and safety equipment.

Additionally, young Hispanic immigrants who work within the construction industry often lack knowledge of U.S. labor laws and protections and some, who are in the U.S. illegally, may fear what will happen if they complain about unsafe or hazardous working conditions. When combined, these factors can be a recipe for disaster and put young Hispanic immigrant construction workers at an increased risk of suffering injury or death at work.

Unfortunately, these same occupational safety issues affect immigrant workers in many industries. Thankfully, regardless of citizenship status, U.S. immigrant workers who are injured while performing work-related duties are entitled to workers' compensation benefits. The process of applying for workers' compensation can be complex and confusing. An attorney can assist in helping ensure that an injured worker receives the maximum benefit amount to which he or she is entitled.

Source: EHS Today, "Young Hispanic Construction Workers Are the Most Vulnerable in the United States," Sandy Smith, May 7, 2015

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