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Scaffolding accident may point to bigger issues in the industry

The construction industry largely relies on Latino employees, and Oklahoma residents should be aware of the fact that Hispanic workers are disproportionately affected by accidents in the industry. Although the construction industry is becoming less deadly as a whole, Hispanics are more likely to be killed or injured than non-Hispanics. An accident that occurred on March 23, 2015, could bring this issue to light.

On March 23, three Hispanic men were killed and one Hispanic man was severely injured while deconstructing a motorized scaffolding system called a mast climber. The system is generally regarded as safe but requires special training in order to be installed and operated properly. An OSHA investigation into the incident will work to determine whether the men had been properly trained to operate the system, whether the device was correctly built and installed and whether proper procedure was followed. Investigators will also consider uncontrollable factors like excessive wind in an effort to determine whether the accident could have been avoided.

There are many factors that influence the racial disparity of construction accidents. When it comes to training, language plays a part. Immigration issues also affect the industry, and many workers don't speak up about lack of training or failure to follow accepted safety standards due to fear of being fired, demoted or deported.

In a situation in which an individual is injured or killed on the job, a lawyer with experience in workers' compensation may be able to help. The victim of a work-related accident may be eligible for workers' compensation or may be able to file a claim and settle the matter in court. In case of death, the victim's loved ones may benefit from filing a claim in order to receive compensation for lost wages and medical expenses.

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