Sept. 2, 2005 – Despite assurances otherwise, foreign-born workers are dying at work in ever-increasing numbers, according to a study released by the AFL-CIO yesterday and Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The report comes a year after an Associated Press investigation documented the widening chasm in death rates between Mexican immigrant workers and all other workers in the United States. Six days after that article was published, John Henshaw, assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health Administration, penned an op-ed citing a one-year 8.3 percent drop in Mexican immigrant worker deaths in 2002 as evidence of a turn-around. He acknowledged, however, that before 2002, such deaths were on the rise.
But according to the AFL-CIO report, Immigrants at Risk: The Urgent Need for Improved Workplace Safety and Health Policies and Programs, while overall workplace fatalities decreased between 1992 and 2002, deaths among immigrant workers jumped by 46 percent, with Hispanic work-related fatalities growing by 58 percent during the same period. Additionally, while the number of foreign-born workers in the US workforce increased by 22 percent from 1996 through 2000; they experienced a 43 percent increase in workplace injuries, the labor federationâ€™s study found.
Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report showing that workplace fatalities and injuries rose from 2003 to 2004. A total of 5,703 people died due to workplace incidents last year. Hispanic work-related deaths jumped 11 percent during the same period, BLS said.
The BLS began tracking the data in 1992. The AFL-CIO report is based on complete figures through 2002, while the latest BLS report â€“ which was posted without an accompanying press release â€“ is based on preliminary data through 2004.