As an immigrant, you're at a disproportionate risk for workplace injuries. You may not be in the United States legally, but that doesn't mean you should be at risk of injury. Latino workers face the highest risk of dying on the job, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act protects workers regardless of their immigration status. The only people not covered by the OSH Act include those who are self-employed, government workers, small farm owners who work with family and domestic workers who didn't find work through an agency.
How does OSHA protect workers?
OSHA creates and enforces regulations that businesses have to follow. It has rules for various industries including the maritime industry, agriculture industry, construction industry and general industry.
OSHA requires employers to provide personal protective equipment for employees, to prevent the spread of diseases in the workplace and to train workers to engage safely with equipment and different required techniques.
What should you do if there's a hazard at work?
First, the employer needs to know there's a hazard present. Report it. The employer should then do his or her best to eliminate the hazard. For example, if you notice that a mower is leaking gas, the employer should replace the unit or have it repaired before it's used again.
If the hazard isn't eliminated, then the employer needs to control the risk to workers. He or she could provide additional training for dealing with risks, install guards to protect you from sharp blades or limit your exposure to toxins.
You may not be legally working in the United States, but that doesn't mean you deserve to face risks on the job. You can make a claim and fight against unsafe employers.