Mike Stobbe, AP, June 5, 2008
Hispanic 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.
Hispanics tend to hold more high-risk jobs than those in other racial 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.
The study was done by health researchers in Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s being published this week in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The study counted more than 11,000 Hispanic work-related deaths nationwide from 1992-2006. The data were culled from death certificates, police reports, workers’ compensation reports and other sources.
The researchers calculated an annual death rate of 5 per 100,000 Hispanic workers in 2006. But the rate for foreign-born Hispanics, roughly 6 per 100,000, was far higher than the 3.5 for those born in the United States.
The rate for non-Hispanic white workers was 4. For blacks, it was 3.7.
From 1992-96, murder on the job was the most common cause of death among Hispanic workers, with crimes like convenience store robberies contributing heavily to that tally.
Then highway accidents became the leading type of work-related fatality. Falls also have become common, and were the leading cause of death in 2000 and 2006.
An analysis of the most recent deaths, from 2003-06, found that 2 of every 3 Hispanic workers who died on the job were foreign-born. That’s up from 1992, when immigrants accounted for about half of Hispanic work-related deaths.
In recent years, about 70 percent of the foreign-born fatalities were from Mexico.