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Latino workers face higher workplace death rate

California is typically one of the safest states in the nation, Safety.BLR reports that new findings show Latino workers have a higher risk of dying on the job. Although the Golden State has a fatality rate of “2.2 workers per 100,000, each year, compared to 3.4 per 100,000 nationally,” the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that Latino workers faced a fatality rate of 4.0 per 100,000. There were 903 total deaths of Latino workers in 2015. This is up from 2014 by almost 100 fatalities in one year (804 in 2014).

Although the immigrant population, and Latinos in particular, suffered more fatalities in the workplace, the causes of death were similar to the overall work fatalities. Transportation incidents led to 36 percent of Latino worker deaths, and 42 percent of worker deaths overall. This is followed by falls, which affected 23 percent of Latino workers, 17 percent overall. The industries with the most worker deaths were agriculture, construction and transportation, followed by oil and gas.

Southern California Public Radio reports that Latino workers who are in the U.S. illegally are most at risk, which could be because they face greater discrimination and violence from employers and thus are less likely to report unsafe working conditions. California has its own  Occupational Safety and Health Administration, rather than just relying upon the Federal administration, which has helped the state have the fifth-lowest worker death rate in the nation. However, there are not enough inspectors to check every place of employment for safety violations, and with the current number on staff it would take 181 years for Cal-OSHA to make it to each workplace one time.

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