Workers who are most vulnerable for a work-related injury may also have a difficult time receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
A new study conducted by NIOSH and the American Society of Safety Engineers shows that young, Hispanic immigrants are at the highest risk for suffering a work-related injury. Especially when they are employed by small companies. This could make obtaining workers’ compensation benefits difficult for a number of reasons. If you are being denied medical care for a work-related injury, a Missouri workers’ compensation attorney from The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann may be able to help you.
Vulnerabilities That Overlap
The focus of the investigation was to examine the safety of certain individuals who had vulnerabilities that overlapped. Surprisingly, there are certain factors which can contribute to a Missouri worker’s risk of injury. These include their race, class, gender, and the likelihood of working for a smaller company of 20 or less workers.
Three groups in particular were identified not only as being at a higher risk for injury, but also for receiving a poor prognosis if an injury did occur. When a worker is identified with several of these traits, the risk of injury and lack of proper health care is even higher.
Challenges Facing Hispanic Workers in the Construction Industry
In the report, researchers used a scenario to help explain why the disparity occurs. A small company is more inclined to hire younger, less experienced workers to help mitigate costs. When that younger worker is an immigrant, they may have an inherent fear of reporting unsafe work conditions or unfair work practices. When you add these two factors to the construction industry, which is known to have a higher than average incidence of workplace injury, you can see where problems could arise for young Hispanic men.
The construction industry sees more accidents per year than any other industry, in part because the vast majority of firms fall under the small business model. Small businesses tend to put less stress on workplace safety as a way to cut corners and save money. Often there is no on-site training, and if there is, it is quick, without any follow-up. This is very dangerous for young workers who have little experience in the field and even more so when English is not the workers’ first language.
Protecting Your Rights as an Injured Worker
Hispanic men and women working in construction need to understand that as long as they have the legal documentation to show they can work in the United States, then they also have the legal right to a safe work environment. If you are injured at work and are not getting the health care that you need to treat that injury, contact The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann immediately at (314) 361-4300. We offer a free consultation and will help you understand your legal options.