San Antonio Construction Accidents Often Impact Hispanic & Latino Workers

The family of a man killed in a San Antonio construction accident is suing two contractors after the employee’s badly decomposed body was found last month at the bottom of the Pearl Brewery smokestack.

San Antonio wrongful death attorneys know many employees understand they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in the event of a work accident. However, too often an injured worker believes he is without additional legal options. While it’s true workers’ compensation laws generally protect your employer from a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, that protection does not extend to other contractors whose negligence may have contributed to the accident. Such third-party liability lawsuits are common when an injury or death occurs on a construction site, where multiple companies are often working under a general contractor.

In this case, the Express-News reports the 31-year-old Chiapas, Mexico native fell 20 feet down a shaft during his first day on the job. The family is suing two contractors for damages; the victim left behind a wife and two children.

The Occupations Safety and Health Administration is investigating. OSHA continues to be concerned about the large number of Hispanic and Latino workers injured in construction accidents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of fatal work accidents among Hispanic and Latino workers increased 3 percent last year. In all, 729 Hispanic or Latino workers were killed on the job in 2011. Seventy percent of those cases involved foreign-born workers, the majority of whom were from Mexico.

In fact, more than 700 Hispanic or Latino workers have been killed on the job in each of the last two years. Last year, these workers accounted for about 1 in 6 workplace deaths. And statistics show these workers are at particularly high risk for construction accidents — nationwide, one-third of construction workers are of Hispanic or Latino heritage.

In response, OSHA has been conducting outreach efforts to help foreign-born workers better understand their rights under the law. Immigration status does not negate and employer’s responsibility to provide safety training, fall protection and other safety equipment. These workers have the same right to a safe workplace enjoyed by all employees. Most recently, the government has been focused on reducing the risk of fall accidents in the residential construction industry.

“Fall protection saves lives,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. “There are effective means available to protect residential construction workers from falls.”

Data shows about 40 workers are killed each year in falls from residential roofs — one-third of those are Latinos.

Construction remains among the nation’s most dangerous industries, although fatal accidents have declined in the wake of the economic recession. Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 721 of the nation’s 4,609 fatal work accidents occurred in the private construction industry.

If you’ve been injured in a Texas construction accident, contact the The Herrera Law Firm, Inc at 800-455-1054 for a confidential consultation.

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