Hispanic-Latino workers appear to be perishing at disproportionate rates in California.
That’s the takeaway from an April 15, 2015 report filed by California’s Department of Industrial Relations and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) (I’ve included a link to the report at the end of this post).
In four of the past five years, occupational death rates were higher among Hispanic workers than non-Hispanics. Particular problem areas include transportation, waste services, construction, warehousing and landscaping.
The percentage of Hispanic worker deaths in California exceeds the national average.
The report by DIR and DOSH contains a breakdown of regions where deaths occurred, age distribution of the decedents, and other factors.
But the report doesn’t fully address why Hispanics are involved in more workplace fatalities. Instead, it simply recommends “specialized training” for Hispanic workers in certain high-risk industries, and development of “training programs and materials”.
Perhaps the cause of this problem is a lack of training. On the other hand, are Hispanics being asked to do more inherently dangerous jobs? Did lack of training actually contribute to the deaths that occurred? Are employers somehow cutting corners and failing to provide safe equipment and safe procedures? Are there cultural factors at play that contribute to the increased incidence of Hispanic deaths? Were Cal-OSHA safety orders violated and is there some correlation with ethnicity? Did language proficiency have any role in causing the deaths?
Clearly the report doesn’t really address or answer these questions.
I have nothing against “training programs and materials”, but there may be other significant factors here.
At the end of the day California needs to get this figured out. Hispanic workers are doing many of the hard and dangerous jobs in our society. We need to do what we can to help them work safely.
The report , titled “Fatal Occupational Injuries among Hispanic-Latino Workers in California, 2009-2013″ can be found here: