Advocacy group partners with OSHA to help Latino workers

May 25, 2011

Washington – The National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy group, on May 24 published a report detailing the experiences of Latino workers and announced a partnership with OSHA to increase awareness and offer training.

Many low-skilled Latino workers earn below-poverty wages at jobs that expose them to dangerous conditions, according to the report, We Needed the Work: Latino Worker Voices in the New Economy (.pdf file). Latino workers are overrepresented in hazardous industries such as construction, and have a fatality rate of 4.0 per 100,000 workers, compared with 3.7 for whites and 3.5 for blacks.

The report includes firsthand accounts from workers, including a residential construction worker who suffered a back injury when he fell off a roof. The worker’s employer had not provided adequate safety equipment and refused to file a workers’ compensation claim after the accident.

To better protect Latino workers from the safety hazards and wage theft common in temporary subcontracting arrangements, NCLR recommended that the government modernize legal protections to cover marginalized workers and increase outreach and enforcement efforts.