Although Hispanic oil and gas workers make up a small percentage of the workforce–7.2 percent in 2011–they suffer a high rate of workplace injuries. In 2011, they suffered more than 25 percent of all such accidents. Pressure to expand oil and gas production, fear of being fired and deported, and inadequate training made worse by the language barrier is a lot of what is behind the high injury rate.
The problem is not a small one, considering the fact that many Hispanic workers are uninsured and depend on their employer to have their back when they become injured. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 29 percent of Hispanics are uninsured, making them less likely than other ethnic or racial group to have health insurance.
Because the oil and gas industry is so driven by production and all too often shirks on safety, it is important for all workers–particularly immigrants–to understand their rights and what to do in the event of injury. Whenever an injury occurs, it is important that the injury is reported to the employer
An injured employee should see to it that the employer files an injury claim. If the employer does not, the worker should file it himself or herself. Failure to do so could lead to the inability to collect compensation. Also, injured workers should never accept under-the-table deals from an employer. These are pretty rare, but they do happen.
These suggestions go for all workers, not just immigrants. Those harmed at the workplace should look out for themselves and not assume that their employer will do the right thing. Those who have questions about their situation should contact an experienced workers’ comp attorney.
Source: Eenews.net, “Inadequate training, job insecurity leave Hispanic oil workers susceptible to injuries,” Pamela King, December 9, 2013.