Latino and immigrant workers deal with disproportionate deadly risks in construction, according a report issued yesterday by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), and reported today on Working Immigrants.com.
The report, ”The Price of Life: 2015 Report on Construction Fatalities in NYC”, said that Latinos make up 25 % of NYS construction workers, but represented 38% of construction fatalities in New York in 2012.
Nationally, Latino construction fatalities increased from 182 in 2010 to 233 in 2013, according to the report.
Some of the other findings reported by Working Immigrants are as follows:
- A study of the medical records of 7,000 U.S. Latino construction workers found that they were 30% more likely than white non-Latino workers to be injured on the job. Several studies have shown that lack of training is one reason for the higher injury rates of Latino construction workers.
- In addition, many New York construction workers are non-citizens, according to the U.S. Census’s American Community Survey, including 40% of New York’s 124,240 construction laborers, 36% of the 7,710 drywall installers, 28% of the 10,405 roofers and 25% of the 88,475 carpenters. They, too, are less likely to receive safety training.
- People of color and immigrant construction workers are more likely to work off the books, to be misclassified as independent contractors, to work as day laborers, or to have limited English proficiency that does not often include technical terms, and therefore are less likely to receive safety training.
- 80% of immigrant workers in construction are Latino. A Center for Popular Democracy report finding showed that 60% of New York construction fall fatalities OSHA investigated from 2003 to 2011 were Latino and or immigrant. In addition, non-unionized contractors are less likely to provide safe work conditions, OSHA training and safety equipment.
- Undocumented workers are less likely to refuse to work in hazardous conditions or speak up for better health and safety conditions for fear they will be fired or deported. In-depth information on all cases is difficult to come by, as many fatalities are announced prior to names being released, and there are no follow-up media reports.
This is not the first time that I discussed the plight of Latino workers in certain high-risk industries, which include construction. My post, An Alternative to High Cost Surgeries for Workers’ Compensation Claims under Wrap-Up Programs, discusses this issue in greater detail, and points the reader to earlier articles I wrote, and to articles by Joe Paduda and Peter Rousmaniere, who wrote today’s piece.
People keep asking me where the value proposition is for the employer and the employee in having surgery performed in a country other than the US, and especially in the home country of the injured worker, so that there are no language or cultural barriers.
Well, that is one value proposition, since being able to understand the claims process and the surgical procedure in one’s own language provides confidence that the patient is receiving the best possible medical care. There doesn’t always have to be a money value to why surgery abroad is better than getting it in a US hospital where language and culture are impediments.
The second value proposition from having the patient go abroad, especially a Latino worker, is that friends and family still in the home country can visit the patient, and make him feel better about his being out of work temporarily.
These are intangible value propositions that you can’t put a price on, but that may result in a faster recovery and a happier employee when he does return to work. That alone is worth the investment.
But as for the employer, if the cost of surgery and the total hospital bill is thousands of dollars less in a medical tourism facility abroad than what they would be paying at a local hospital, then the value to the employer is that he is saving a lot of money, especially if the majority of his workforce is Latino.
I have spoken to a number of people about this idea, and yet, some of them fail to see the value in saving money on expensive surgeries. I can only surmise that they like paying through the nose for surgery on a knee, hip, shoulder or wrist.
Or perhaps, they feel that it is okay for a worker to go abroad under group health (as one company in NC has done), but not under workers’ comp. Does that not smack of class bias?
I have written extensively about the expensive cost of our workers’ comp system, its failures and deficiencies, but yet no one is willing to admit to themselves, let alone this writer, that such an alternative is realistic.
To be fair, I have had some conversations with a few people who get it, but alas, there is no second party willing to explore this. As the workforce becomes more Latino, and as work comp comes under assault on many fronts, there may be some employers, brokers, carriers out there who will listen.
In the meantime, I will continue to write, even though I am getting bupkis for doing so. I’d rather be earning consulting fees or even a paycheck, but until then, I will continue to believe that medical tourism is not just for white people with great insurance and deep pockets, or for big companies with group health plans, or for those seeking cosmetic or plastic surgery, etc., but for ALL people, rich and poor.
I am willing to work with any broker, carrier, or employer interested in saving money on expensive surgeries, and to provide the best care for their injured workers or their client’s employees.
Call me for more information, next steps, or connection strategies at (561) 738-0458 or (561) 603-1685, cell. Email me at: email@example.com. Ask me any questions you may have on how to save money on expensive surgeries under workers’ comp. Connect with me on LinkedIn and follow my blog at: richardkrasner.wordpress.com. Share this article, or leave a comment below.