Does lack of English cause work injuries?

Common sense suggests that Limited English Proficiency among the 15 million or so immigrant workers who work in average or about average risky jobs contributes to the rate of injury. It’s impossible to document this because so many injuries sustained by immigrant workers, and undocumented workers especially, go un-reported.
A study looked national survey data and reported a close correlation between LEP and working in higher injury risk jobs.
“Our results indicate that differences in observable characteristics, such as English ability and education, play important roles in the tendency of immigrants to work in riskier jobs. Workers’ ability to speak English is inversely related to their industry injury and fatality rates, indicating that immigrants who speak English fluently work in safer jobs. The CDC (2008) attributed the high number of work-related deaths among foreign-born Hispanics in part to inadequate knowledge of safety hazards and inadequate training and supervision of workers, which are often exacerbated by language and literacy problems. Our findings bolster such calls for more safety training in languages other than English (National Research Council 2003).”
Do Immigrants Work in Riskier Jobs? Orrenius P et al. Demography. 2009 August; 46(3): 535–551. Found at:

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