- The AFL-CIO has published its 25th report on how the country’s workers are protected — or aren't protected — on the job and found that Latino immigrant construction worker deaths rose 32% between 2010 and 2014.
- The labor organization also reported that the construction industry saw 233 Latino worker deaths in 2014 — the most of any industry — as well as the highest number of immigrant worker deaths, at 217.
- The AFL-CIO also reported that that in 2014, the construction industry saw 899 fatalities, with transportation/warehousing (766) and agriculture/forestry/fishing/hunting (584) not far behind. In addition, after many years of declines, fatalities in construction began to tick upward from a 9.7 fatality rate in 2013 to 9.8 in 2014.
Compared to other private industries, workers in construction reported 7% of all injuries and illnesses in 2014. The construction industry (49%) was also on the receiving end of the most OSHA inspections (49%).
The AFL-CIO said that workers in all industries need increased protections, particularly Latinos and immigrants. The organization also said that ergonomic and chemical hazards aren't subject eo enough regulation and that Congress should increase funding and workforce numbers at safety agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
In November, The New York Times reported that immigrants represented a "disproportionate" percentage of workers killed on construction sites in New York. The Times also found that many of the immigrants killed in construction-related accidents over the past two years were fairly powerless — due primarily to legal status — when it came to demanding safer work conditions or being able to report safety violations.
These statistics were part of a bigger problem for construction safety in New York between July 2014 and July 2015. OSHA said there were 10 construction site fatalities in that period, compared to an average of 5.5 deaths per year for the previous four years. In addition, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2010 and 2013, the rate of Latino construction worker fatalities on job sites continued to increase disproportionately to their population of the total industry — largely due to language barriers and a lack of safety training, according to experts.
However, agencies are cracking down on safety violators, as OSHA fines are set to increase as much as approximately 80% in August 2016 as a result of an adjustment to the Consumer Price Index.