For immediate release
August 9, 2007
No one should have to suffer the loss of a relative because of a company’s disregard for worker safety. But according to the 2006 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a growing number of Latino families especially immigrant Latino families like that of Cintas worker Eleazar Torres Gomez are losing loved ones due to workplace tragedies.
Mr. Torres Gomez and his family came to the United States in 1987 from Mexico to earn a better life. His pursuit of the American Dream was tragically cut short while working at a Cintas industrial laundry in Tulsa, Oklahoma, earlier this year. Mr. Torres Gomez was reportedly caught on a conveyor belt and dragged into a large dryer, where he was trapped for at least 20 minutes in temperatures up to 300 degrees.
The family of Eleazar Torres Gomez is not mourning alone. In 2006, there were 5,703 fatal workplace injuries reported, and 937 were among Latino workers, the largest number since the fatality census began in 1992. According to the BLS, Latinos are 18 percent more likely to die at work than the population as a whole. While Hispanics make up roughly 12 percent of the workforce, Latino workers accounted for 16 percent of on the job fatalities.
America’s workplaces should be safer for all. As hard-working people, whether we were born here or came from elsewhere for a better future, we demand that employers stop this carnage. Irresponsible companies like Cintas should not be allowed to force employees to labor in dangerous conditions.
To see the full BLS report, please go to http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.toc.htm.