Latino workers die at higher rates than other laborers, with 1 in 3 of these deaths occurring in the construction industry, a government study reported Thursday.
Latinos tend to hold more high-risk jobs than other ethnic groups, but language and literacy barriers and poor training and supervision may also be factors, researchers said. The leading causes of death in recent years have been falls and highway-related accidents.
“Many of the Latino workers in construction are undocumented, and many of those who are recently arrived do face a language barrier,” said Rakesh Kochhar, associate director for research at the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan think tank.
“A language barrier hinders understanding of a job, or the risks associated with it, or safety precautions,” said Kochhar, who was not part of the study, which counted more than 11,000 Latino work-related deaths nationwide from 1992 to 2006.
The researchers calculated an annual death rate of 5 per 100,000 Latino workers in 2006. The rate for non-Latino white workers was 4. For blacks, it was 3.7.