Report Explores Overlapping Vulnerabilities Facing Young Hispanic Immigrants in the Construction Industry

NIOSH

In his January 2016 President’s Message, 2015-16 ASSE President Michael Belcher, CSP, reminds ASSE members and the OSH community that as the Latino workforce in the U.S. continues to grow, so, too, do concerns about the higher numbers of injuries and illnesses these workers suffer. According to a May 2015 report by ASSE and NIOSH, Latino immigrant workers have a higher risk of on-the-job injuries and illnesses than their U.S.-born counterparts. “Overlapping Vulnerabilities: The Occupational Safety and Health of Young Immigrant Workers in Small Construction Firms,” examines the factors behind why three populations—Hispanic immigrants, small businesses with fewer than 20 employees and workers under age 25—are at increased risk for injury and death in the construction industry.

Workers who fall into all three categories—those who have overlapping vulnerabilities—such as young immigrants in small construction firms, are placed at an even higher risk. As Belcher explains, these overlapping vulnerabilities are “threatening a generation of young immigrants who have come to the U.S. for a better quality of life. This should be a wake-up call for our profession.”

To address this issue, ASSE has initiated several initiatives including working with Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) and other groups to better understand the underlying causes and contributing factors, and to evaluate current OSH practices in construction. The Society hopes to use this information to help OSH professionals design and implement more effective systems.

Download and read the report or visit www.asse.org/workersatrisk for more information and resources on this topic.