Latino laborers' risk is high
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 13, 2007

Construction industry faces injury concerns

Chad Graham

Working in construction in the Valley has always been a dangerous career choice, probably since Phoenix's founders dug a canal to divert water from the Salt River to farmland.

Nearly 140 years later, as Arizona's building boom creates vast wealth and fuels some of the best economic growth in the nation, it is also killing and injuring workers.

An Arizona Republic analysis of state and federal data from 2003 to 2005 revealed that the increase in injuries and deaths for Hispanic workers far outpaced the increase in the workforce overall. A large number of incidents are occurring in the construction industry.

The reasons are many: a shortage of skilled workers trying to finish advanced work, the sheer number of projects forcing companies to work faster, language breakdowns and cultural misunderstandings.

General contractors and workers' compensation carriers are desperate to find solutions to the costly problem and are turning to new media campaigns and online technology.