Health and Safety for Immigrant Workers

Immigrant workers in the United States often labor in difficult and dangerous jobs.  As a result, they have higher rates of workplace injuries and fatalities in industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, industrial laundries and nail salons.  Workplace fatalities among foreign-born workers, particularly in the construction industry, have been growing at a time when the rate of fatalities for all workers has actually been declining.

Many of the tragic accidents that befall immigrant workers are preventable.  Barriers such as language, fear of exposure to immigration authorities, and lack of attention to safety by their employers are among the obstacles immigrant workers face in keeping themselves safe on the job.

NELP works with community groups, legislators and lawyers to help provide a safe workplace for all workers. 

Through training and strategic intervention in court cases, we ensure that immigration status does not keep workers from accessing workers' compensation.  We highlight the real solutions - creative, community-based approaches to workplace safety - such as:

See also our work in the areas of Immigrant Workers' Rights and Remedies and Enforcement of Workplace Standards.

For more information on our work in this area, please contact Rebecca Smith, rsmith@nelp.org.

Other key resources:

Worksafe, A California Coalition for Workplace Safety and Health Protection

Immigrant Workers at Risk: The Urgent Need for Improved Workplace Safety and Health Policies and Programs, AFL-CIO (2005)

Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, AFL-CIO (2008)