It is tragic to say, but cultural norms that devalue the labor of minorities have profound impacts. For example, in New York City, union construction workers for years have been predominantly Caucasian. Latino construction workers, particularly undocumented workers, are less likely to work on union projects but more likely to suffer a serious injury or death. Often, these accidents were completely preventable and the result of willful violations by employers trying to save a few dollars. According to the most recent statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau Statistics, Latinos had the highesr percentage of fatal work accidents in New York City.
A company that violates one law will probably break another
If employers have no problem hiring undocumented workers in place of unionized or well-trained workers, they have already shown a disdain for the law. They may also break other laws, by offering illegally low wages and failing to provide adequate safety training and interventions. As a result, their workers may experience increased risk of falls, injuries or even death at work.
The City Council of New York is working to enact new laws to improve worker safety. It should come as no surprise that industry insiders are fighting some of the proposed laws, worried about the impact on profit.
One would imagine that those who hire construction workers to engage in risky work would prefer to minimize their employee's risk. However, doing so can increase costs. For instance, requiring newer and better maintained equipment or increased training and apprenticeships costs money. These solutions directly decrease the profit margin for companies that have previously been willing to ignore or bend worker safety laws.
Workers and their families deserve better protection
Latino construction workers, particularly those who are undocumented, are at higher risk of injury and death while at work. This is, in part, due to their employer's willingness to ignore safety concerns in favor of profit. Instead of hiring trained, union workers, they choose the cheapest labor they can find. Instead of investing in machinery maintenance and upgrades, they run machinery until it fails. That failure could result in an injury or fatality that was completely preventable. Construction workers deserve better, which is why injured workers or their families need a personal injury attorney.
Attorneys can review records for the business in question to see if they have a pattern of breaking, bending or ignoring safety laws. They can help reduce the risk of deportation as a penalty for reporting work conditions or injuries. They can also help hold a company responsible if their negligence caused injury or death. If a construction accident injured you or someone you love, contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.