No worker should have to make life or death decisions for a paycheck in the 21st century. Yet Latino construction workers face decisions everyday; decisions that pit their own safety against their ability to earn a living. They make these decisions while doing the hardest, most unhealthy and most dangerous jobs in New York and across the country. One mistake and they pay with their lives or limbs in construction accidents.
There was hope for improvement in construction safety, particularly for Latino workers. Still, in 2013, Latino workers remain exposed to construction accidents at a far greater rate than any other group.
A 2010 summit in Houston addressed this issue (an article on the summit can be found in the link below), hoping to improve the problem. The Construction Accident Attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy, one of New York’s premier construction accident law firms, look back at the summit and contrast the goals of the summit with the grim realities of today.
New York, like many states, is experiencing unprecedented growth in the construction industry. New York needs hard-working women and men to tackle these difficult, trade specific jobs. A large percentage of the skilled labor is comprised of Latinos; thus many of the workers during this construction boom will be Latinos. Many of them are not legal citizens and, thus, feel like they are in a compromised position.
The worker in a compromised position is often afraid to speak up when they are forced to work in a dangerous and hazardous work environment. They are often victims, regularly exploited because of their inability to speak out. This shows up in the form of unfair wages, limited personal protective devices and long, grueling hours. When hurt, they fear that seeking legal help will lead to them being deported or their family being harassed.
The situation has not improved since this well-meaning summit. Some would argue, after walking through a work site in neighborhoods likje Inwood, Brownsville or Elmhurst or even in Midtown Manhattan that conditions have worsened for Latino workers.
Block O’Toole & Murphy has long fought for Latino construction workers that have been injured on the job. They take pride in standing up for the underdog. The firm has a tradition of excellence inside and outside of the courtroom, including more than $700,000,000 in verdicts and settlements. To learn more about the construction accident lawyers, please see the firm website at www.blockotoole.com. You can call the firm for a free consultation at 212.736.5300.