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:
Participatory research projects where workers define the hazards on their jobs for themselves - see Home is Where the Work Is (on the domestic service industry); On the Corner (day labor); and Glossed Over, Health Hazards Associated with Toxic Exposure in the Nail Salon Industry.
Popular education curricula that encourage workers to share both experiences and solutions, such as one carried out by New Labor in New Jersey, and the Farm Worker Health and Safety Institute in Florida.
Training peer educators as "promotores de salud", as has been done in the farm worker community.
Passing and then monitoring legislative solutions such as the Meatpacker Bill of Rights, and the follow-up study Dignity on the Line, by Nebraska Appleseed.
For more information on our work in this area, please contact Rebecca Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other key resources: