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Immigrant workers at risk of injuries

Accidents can happen at any kind of workplace, to any kind of worker. However, some types of workplaces are more prone than others to the types of accidents that cause serious injury. Most workers in Ohio have legal protections in place to help them if they are injured on the job, but some types of workers lack protections, and some are vulnerable to being pressured out of asserting their rights.

Immigrants, many of whom work in Ohio's agricultural industry, are particularly vulnerable. According to the Immigration Worker Project, an Ohio nonprofit organization, there are between 63,500 and 70,300 rural immigrants and farm workers in the state.

Many of these workers come from Guatemala and Mexico, and may have limited English skills. They may not know their rights, or fear deportation if they protest unsafe conditions at work. The Immigration Worker Project has documented cases in which employers routinely mistreated or retaliated against immigrant farm workers after they were injured on the job.

Immigration is a hot-button issue in the United States today, with strong opinions on all sides. However, if there is one thing on which everyone should agree, it is that people who are injured at work should get help.

Ohio's workers' compensation system can provide benefits for qualifying workers who have been injured on the job, so that they can afford medical treatment and cope with the loss of income they suffer while they are recovering from their injuries. Those who have been hurt in a workplace injury can speak with a lawyer with experience in workers' compensation to find out about their rights and legal options.

Source: Vindy.com, "Group advocates for immigrant farm workers," By Justin Wier, April 4, 2017

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