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Industry groups identify construction's most vulnerable demographic

Construction work is known to be highly dangerous, often requiring specific skills and protocols that put a premium on labor. With the cost of labor a significant consideration for developers and contractors here in New York City, some employers take advantage of cheaper labor by hiring unlicensed or under-trained workers.

According to EHS Today, a resource for workplace safety professionals, the tendency to cut corners on worker safety has real - and dangerous - implications. A recent report found that young Hispanic construction workers are the most vulnerable workers in the United States. Construction workers within this demographic have the highest fatality rates in the country.

A vulnerable worker population

The report, "Overlapping Vulnerabilities: The Occupational Safety and Health of Young Immigrant Workers in Small Construction Firms," identifies several factors that create a high-risk work environment. An increased risk of workplace injury or death affects:

  • Hispanic immigrants
  • Workers under the age of 25
  • Employees of small business with 20 workers or fewer

When these factors intersect, the risk is even higher. And bias based on age, race or national origin may make matters worse. When employers don't fully value the lives of their employees, everyone loses.

Your employer's responsibilities

There are local, state and federal agencies dedicated to keeping workplaces safe, each with their own safety rules and regulations. When employers attempt to maximize profits or avoid responsibilities by dodging those regulations, they may be liable for any resulting injury or death.

If you have concerns about workplace safety, contact an organization in your community or consider speaking with an attorney experienced in workplace injury claims.

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