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Workplace hazards greatly affect vulnerable populations

The subject of comprehensive immigration reform is a contentious one. But no matter what your opinion is regarding the immigration status of individuals currently within U.S. borders, certainly all Americans can agree that all workers deserve to remain safe on the job. Unfortunately, experts indicate that vulnerable populations including migrant and temporary employees suffer higher rates of workplace accidents than others tend to.

These workers tend to suffer greater accident and injury rates because they face proportionally higher hazard rates in the workplace than other populations do. The director of University of Pennsylvania's Transnational Law Center recently explained that the hazards these workers face are systemic in nature, which is why their accident and injury rates remain both consistently and proportionally high.

In addition, she has explained that undocumented, migrant and temporary workers are frequently denied their rights in the workplace which makes for an unsafe work environment in and of itself. When workers are not permitted access to proper equipment, sick time, breaks and other critical safety measures, their accident rates skyrocket.

All American workers are entitled to safe work environments, whether or not they possess proper documentation. Unfortunately, the contentious nature of immigration as a broader issue in the country is contributing to the systemic inadequacies related to safety in many industries that employ undocumented, migrant and other temporary workers. As the immigration debate moves forward nationwide, worker safety must be placed at the heart of it. Because ultimately, failure to keep all American workers safe is a disservice to every last one of us.

Source: The Raw Story, "Temporary and migrant workers face 'systemic' problem of workplace dangers," David Ferguson, Mar. 28, 2013

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