In North Carolina, those employed in industries such as construction and agriculture are at high risk of severe injury and death in work-related accidents. However, studies show that there is a group affected by fatal accidents more than any other demographic: Latino males.
Three Latino Workers Killed in Construction Site Accident January 2nd, 2023
On January 2nd, scaffolding collapsed at a construction site in Charlotte, NC, killing three Latino workers and injuring two others. Until then, North Carolina safety inspectors knew very little about this construction site since they had never inspected it. This tragedy claimed the lives of Jose Canaca, Gilberto Monico Fernández, and Jesus “Chuy” Olivares.
Latino Males Disproportionately Affected by Fatal Workplace Accidents
There are only 105 safety inspectors covering all of North Carolina’s 100 counties, and 33 vacancies for more inspectors. The lack of inspectors and inspections means North Carolina workers face an unnecessary increased risk of unsafe work conditions, which lead to injuries and death. Latino workers experience the highest occupational death rate than any other racial or ethnic group in North Carolina.
In a study conducted from 2000 to 2017, information on fatal occupational injuries was abstracted from the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and death certificate records held by the North Carolina Office of Vital Records. In addition, estimates of the working population were based on the American Community Survey and the decennial census. Then, estimates of annual fatal occupational injury were determined for Latino workers compared to Non-Latino workers. As a result, Latino workers comprised 259 of 2,042 fatal occupational injuries in North Carolina.
To mitigate this and help prevent future deaths, it is crucial to increase workplace inspections, advocate for the immigrant community, and provide thorough instructions in English and Spanish. However, awareness is the first step. Here’s what you need to know about workplace accidents in North Carolina and what to do if you find yourself in this high-stakes, potentially deadly situation.
What Are The Leading Causes of Construction Worker Deaths in North Carolina?
In 2021, there were 41 total fatal injuries on construction sites, including:
- Thirteen caused by falls, trips, and slips
- Twelve caused by exposure to harmful substances or environments
- Eight caused by transportation incidents
- Six caused by contact with objects and equipment
Better inspection, planning, and training protocols in North Carolina could help reduce these numbers to zero and protect our workers.
How Many Fatal Accidents Occur Each Year on Construction Sites?
It’s important to remember that this issue is not limited to the state of North Carolina. Instead, this nationwide problem needs to be addressed on a federal level. From 2016 to 2019, the number of Occupational Health and Safety Administration Inspectors dropped to the lowest levels in 40 years.
According to the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2021, there were 951 construction and extraction-related accidents that year. While this number varies yearly, it represents too many families left behind due to another entity’s negligence.
We Vow to Protect the Latino Workers of The Carolinas
If you or a loved one was injured in a workplace accident or lost someone due to wrongful death, you need an experienced attorney to protect your rights and secure the benefits you may be entitled to by law. Whether you speak English or Spanish, our workers’ compensation and wrongful death attorneys will walk you through the claims process every step of the way for your peace of mind.
Contact us today by submitting a form below or calling our office at 800-533-6845 for a free injury legal consultation.