Hispanic immigrant and African American men have a higher risk than other workers of getting injured on the job, and the disparity may be driven in part by discrimination, according to a new study co-authored by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher.
The study, in the journal Health Affairs,found that workers ages 18 to 64 who are Hispanic immigrants had the highest workplace injury rate, at 13.7 percent per 1,000 workers, followed by African American men (more than 12 percent), and U.S.-born Hispanic men (nearly 12 percent). The injury rate for White men was 11.8 percent, and for Asian Americans nearly 10 percent. Other ethnicities had a rate of about 11 percent.
The research team — Dr. Les Boden, professor of environmental health at BUSPH, and Dr.Seth Seabury and Dr. Sophie Terp of the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine — analyzed two sets of data with similar demographic characteristics.
The researchers did not identify the underlying causes of the disparities, but they noted that discrimination has long been a factor in poor worker safety. They cited a history of discrimination in hiring and promotion and of assigning Black and Hispanic workers to the riskiest tasks.
“Based on our findings, policy makers and regulators may need to review whether employers are systematically assigning people of different races and ethnicities different jobs or job tasks according to their risk,” they wrote.
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