Immigrant Workers

Immigrant Workers

Immigrant workers have in recent years made up a growing proportion of the American workforce. But they are disproportionately represented in industries with higher risks of job-related fatalities. These include private construction work, transportation and public utilities.

From 1996 to 2001, the share of the U.S. workforce made up of immigrant workers grew 22 percent. Over the same period, immigrant workers' share of occupational fatalities increased 43 percent. Fatal work injuries involving immigrant workers are primarily concentrated in the six states with the largest foreign-born populations: New York, California, Texas, Florida, Illinois and New Jersey.

Latin Americans, who make up about 60 percent of the nation's foreign-born population, also are the most likely to die on the job. The Mexican-born are at particular risk: They represented 27 percent of all foreign-born workers in 2000, but suffered 42 percent of fatal work injuries.

Foreign-born workers may take dangerous jobs because their employment opportunities are limited due to lower levels of educational attainment and English proficiency. A substantial number also lack legal authorization for being in the country. All of these factors also make it less likely for immigrant workers to know their rights on the job or to speak up when their rights to a safe workplace are violated. They are vulnerable to exploitation by employers.

Mission: NYCOSH works in collaboration with community organizations, unions, government agencies and advocacy groups to increase workplace safety for immigrants through training, education and public awareness campaigns. NYCOSH also seeks to end the exploitative treatment of immigrant workers and to increase their access to workers' benefits.

NYCOSH's recent activities include:

- Organizing a NYCOSH Safety & Health Immigrant Workers Council Conference for Workers' Memorial Day 2010.

- Launching Occupational Safety & Health Committees for different community-based organizations such as Workplace Project; El Centro del Immigrante; Make the Road NY, MinKwon center, Hispanic Resource Center and New Immigrant Community Empowerment

- Assisting in the planning of the New York Latino OSHA Summit held in November 2010.

- Training a group of New York-area horse groomers on safety and health.

- Conducting workshop on safety and health at a recent conference on low-wage immigrant workers

Resources on Immigrant Workers:

Labor Force Characteristics of Foreign-Born Workers, BLS Summary, 2010

Fractures in the Foundation, Natl. Council of La Raza Report on Latino Workers, 2009

Foreign-born Workers, Trends in Fatal Occupational Injuries, Monthly Labor Review Online, 2004

NYCOSH Offices:

New York City
61 Broadway - Suite 1710
NY, NY 10006
(Fax) 212-227-9854

Long Island
150 Motor Parkway - Suite 306
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(Fax) 631-435-1893