…I read this item today from the Associated Press………

Hispanics dying on job at higher rates than others

By MIKE STOBBE (AP Medical Writer)
From Associated Press

June 05, 2008 11:46 AM EST

ATLANTA – Hispanic workers die at higher rates than other laborers, with 1 in 3 of these deaths occurring in the construction industry, a government study reported Thursday.

Hispanics tend to hold more high-risk jobs than those in other racial groups, but language and literacy barriers and poor training and supervision may also be factors, researchers said. The leading causes of death in recent years have been falls and highway-related accidents.

“Many of the Hispanic workers in construction are undocumented, and many of those who are recently arrived do face a language barrier,” said Rakesh Kochhar, associated director for research at the Pew Hispanic Center. “A language barrier hinders understanding of a job, or the risks associated with it, or safety precautions,” said Kochhar, who was not part of the new study”.


Hey, I would like to think that our Non-English speaking Paisano workers don’t need translated warnings such as: “No Atraviese el Freeway Mientras Vienen Carros”, or “No Se Tiren De La Azotea” in order to avoid accidents. I also don’t believe that a lack of English literacy equals a lack of common sense. I like to think that these guys have as much good sense and sufficient work skills & survival instincts as anyone else. Perhaps there’s just greater numbers of Non-English speaking workforce out there today with a greater exposure to hazardous working conditions? Or, more conspiratorily, perhaps worksite management isn’t as vigilant to all safety guidelines when these hard working, but non-english speaking, paisas are on the job? Who Knows? I just think that these workers deserve a little more credit than this study by some East Coast researchers would imply.



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About AlDesmadre

Al Guerrero, Artist/Humorist. Los Angeles, CA. Born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in East Los Angeles from the age of two, Al Guerrero grew up just steps from the famous Chicano strip, Whittier Boulevard. His youth experiences include witnessing and participating in the 1970 Chicano Power demonstrations, cruising cars on Whittier Boulevard, and graduating from Garfield High School. After dropping out of UCLA (with honors), he drew upon his lifelong passion for art and cartooning and pursued a career in graphic arts. During this period, he traveled overseas and found artistic inspiration from the masterworks he discovered within the European Art Museums. His career blossomed when he was eventually hired by the Walt Disney Company in 1995, where he worked as a creative artist for a number of years. Although the artistic work was rewarding, he eventually grew weary & disillusioned with the bureaucracy of the entertainment business, and left to work briefly in the educational field. His credits include producing a feature film with actor, Conrad Brooks of Ed Wood fame, founding and performing with the Punk Rock group “The Psychocats” at numerous L.A. & Hollywood venues during the 1990’s, and in 1999 he founded and created a hell-bent puppet cabaret show aptly named: “The Puppets from Hell”. As a long time active member of the Los Angeles Cacophony Society, Al “Quaeda”, as he was known, was involved in countless Cacophony Society pranks and events throughout the city. He also produced the “Incredibly Strange Cinema” cult film series as well as themed events such as the now infamous “Pornothon Movie Nights” and the satirical “Mexican Night: Noche De Tequila & Putas” shows at local nightclub venues. Throughout his art career, he has exhibited his canvas paintings at various local galleries, and has also written & illustrated numerous comic strips and Graphic Novel stories. Today, he lives in Silver Lake, California and works as a freelance artist and writer with numerous multi-media projects under his belt and in the works. His personal hobbies include collecting vintage toys and comic books, cinema history and Los Angeles City history. Contact: Al Guerrero P.O. Box 29697 Los Angeles, CA 90029-0697

2 thoughts on “AGUAS, GUEY!!!

  1. I don’t work dangerous construction jobs, so I can’t be certain of this, but, whenever I’m working on something with a sharp object or power tool, it seems like there are safe and unsafe ways to do things, and they’re rarely “instinctive”. Hold the tool one way, and it won’t hurt you if you lose your grip. Hold it another way, and “ouch”. Safety involves hundreds of small, specific actions that are safer than hundreds of other alternative actions, that you perform to do the same work.

    It could be as simple as making a decision to walk on one side of a parked car or another that helps you avoid an accident. Making that decision to be safe *can* come down to training, communications and peer pressure. If the only pressure is coming from the boss, to speed up, or to do something unsafely, you need some social support to tell them it’s unsafe so you can refuse to do it their way.

  2. If people are working with chemicals/solvents, then the language barrier would be a significant problem. Material Safety Data Sheets explain how to safely handle chemicals but if you can’t read them, you won’t know that a certain cleanser needs to be diluted before use or that goggles, gloves and a mask are needed. I also agree with your points that immigrant employees are more likely to work hazardous jobs and more likely to have bosses who prioritize speed over safety.

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