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Latinos suffer highest rate of work injuries

It may not take a study to show that some jobs are inherently dangerous. Most people in New York can probably guess that construction, farming and truck driving are among jobs that claim the most lives across the country. Jobs that include working from heights, exposure to harsh chemicals or operating heavy equipment are usually categorized among the most risky. However, new research shows that work injuries can also be categorized by race and ethnicity.

For example, roofing, the occupation with the highest fatality rate, has a workforce that is predominantly Latino in many areas of the country. African Americans also suffer more workplace injuries than average, including in the roofing industry. To roofers and other construction workers, injuries are so common that many are not reported. The study suggests that all high-risk workers need more safety training and improved standards of safety.

The research was unable to pinpoint the reasons why Latino and African American workers are injured more frequently than others. One theory is that workers of those races are given the most dangerous assignments on the job. Researchers recommend that policymakers look into this possibility.

When work injuries do occur, the injured workers have recourse available. Workers' compensation provides funds for medical bills and lost wages. For many, however, their injuries resulted from the negligence of a third-party contractor, the failure of safety equipment, or another factor not related to a workers' compensation claim. Any worker in New York who is injured has the right to seek legal counsel to determine if the accident qualifies for further compensation.

Source: scpr.org, "Higher workplace injury rates for blacks, Latino immigrants", George Lavender, Feb. 15, 2017

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