New Report Finds Latino Workers Face Increased Risk of Dying on the Job
Most of the Latino workers who died on the job were in construction, followed by motor vehicle operators, maintenance workers, and agricultural workers.
On Tuesday, AFL-CIO, the nation's largest federation of unions, released a new report that found Latino workers are at an increased risk of dying on the job. Based on data for 2018 (the most recent available year), the job fatality rate for Latino workers continues to be higher than the rate for American workers in general. "It's at 3.7 per 100,000 workers, compared to 3.5 for all workers," Rebecca Reindel, director of occupational safety and health at AFL-CIO, said during a virtual press conference.
Most of the Latino workers who died on the job worked in construction, followed by motor vehicle operators, maintenance workers, and agricultural workers. The deaths of Latino workers reached 961 in 2018, compared to 903 in 2017. According to Reindel, the increase in deaths is due to a rise in fatalities among Latino immigrant workers. In 2018, at least 641 immigrant workers died on the job, compared to 568 the previous year. The majority were from Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
About 76 percent of all Latino worker deaths in Florida were of immigrant workers, while in California and Texas, it was 61 and 63 percent. Many of the Latinos in those states are essential workers and are being infected and killed by the coronavirus. "Workers who were already at greater risk of workplace injuries, deaths, and disease have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, such as Black and Latino workers in meatpacking plants, agriculture, and other industries," Reindel said.
Many Latino workers continue to be exposed to COVID-19 while on the job, and the AFL-CIO is urging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration "to increase attention to the serious safety and health problems faced by Latino, immigrant, and aging workers" and enhance "efforts to protect temporary and contract workers." The organization is also calling for a "national OSHA standard" to battle COVID-19 in the workplace.