Baltimore bridge collapse reveals growing Latino workforce and the risks they experience daily – La Opinion

Baltimore bridge collapse reveals growing Latino workforce and the risks they experience daily – La Opinion


The tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge once again puts in the eyes of the world that this area of ​​Baltimore has a large immigrant population from Latin Americawhich is often used in the hardest jobs, like the one carried out by the people missing in this accident.

However, it is no coincidence that The victims of the Baltimore bridge collapse are from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico, which for many, illustrates the dangers that Hispanic workers face in the construction industry, where they usually obtain better salaries, corresponding to the risk they face.

According to official information, eight construction workers were fixing potholes on the road of the Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday when a huge cargo ship that was experiencing technical problems after losing power accidentally crashed into the bridge, causing it to collapse in the Patapsco River.

Only two workers who survived were rescued from the water, the others were declared dead.

According to official records, in Maryland, where the accident occurred, The 2020 census showed that Latinos are now 12 percent of the population and number around 744,000 inhabitants.

Even something that attracts people to Baltimore is the availability of jobs in the construction industry. Fells Point, a port neighborhood known for its trendy pubs and taverns, is also an area where many day laborers are seen sitting on the sidewalks waiting for work.

People come to the city from Ecuador, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico who prefer Baltimore to Washington, Virginia or New Jersey because the Hispanic community is just being born so there are many opportunities.

While Baltimore is a major hub for vehicles, containers and commodities, it also ranks first among U.S. ports for cars and light trucks, as well as the construction industry.

However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the US Department of Labor considers Construction as “a high-risk industry” where workers are exposed to serious risks, such as falling from rooftops, being struck by heavy construction equipment, and being injured or killed by unprotected machinery.

Despite this context, Latinos are more exposed to these dangers since they represent approximately a third of the country’s construction workers.

dAccording to reports from the Department of Labor, Latinos are an important workforce in that field, Because of the total number of them in the United States, it is estimated that 27% of them are construction workers.

With 1,056 deaths, workers in the construction and extraction industries had the second-highest number of deaths in 2022, followed by transportation and material-moving workers, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released in December. At least 423 of these workers died due to falls, slips or trips.

The majority of these deaths, at least 286, occurred among Hispanic workers.

The death rate for construction and extraction workers rose from 12.3 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers in 2021 to 13.0 a year later.

A total of 316 foreign-born Hispanic construction workers died from work injuries in 2022.

*With information from NBCNews.

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