California has one of the largest Hispanic populations in the United States. As a result, it also has a high number of Hispanic workers. While statistics show on-the-job injuries are decreasing across the board, increases are being seen in workplace accidents involving Hispanics. The question is "Why are Hispanics suffering so many injuries?"
Safety+Health magazine attempted to answer the question by taking a closer look at statistics published by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. According to one expert, undocumented Hispanics are often hired "under the table," receiving their pay in cash. Their undocumented statuses and their lack of employment contracts leave them feeling as though they have no way to report injuries or seek legal assistance.
Another reason cited for the increase is a lack of communication. Many Hispanic workers speak little or even no English, while their employers speak little or no Spanish. This language barrier makes it difficult for employers to communicate instructions or safety procedures, while preventing the employees from asking important questions. Culture has also been blamed for a lack of reporting, as such an action is considered inappropriate in some workers' native countries.
Regardless of the reasons why on-the-job injuries are on the rise, Hispanics in California have the right to pursue workers' compensation benefits after accidents. In addition, employers in California have a responsibility to report workplace accidents. Any worker who is unsure about his or her rights or the correct way to pursue workers' compensation may find the help of a legal professional invaluable.