State Worker’s Compensation Programs

Workplace injury, illness pushing Americans deeper into poverty, By Seth Freed Wessler, March 4, 2015, NBC News: “Workplace injuries are driving low income Americans deeper into poverty, and casting middle class workers into economic dire straits, a government report said Wednesday.  ‘Work related injuries illnesses push thousands of American families out of the middle class and they block many more low wage workers from getting out of poverty,’ said Dr. David Michaels, the head of Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in an interview with NBC News.  That claim is supported by a major new investigation also released Wednesday by the news site ProPublica in partnership with National Public Radio. The investigation documents declines in workers’ compensation payouts in the majority of states. Benefits have been cut so dramatically in some states they ‘virtually guarantee injured workers will plummet into poverty,’ the ProPublica story says…”

Migrant Laborers

Migrant laborers slip through the tattered safety net in Texas, By Jay Root, June 30, 2014, Texas Tribune: “Along a street lined with warehouses on the east side of Houston, nine Mexican laborers working about 20 feet off the ground are tearing up a concrete roof with handmade pickaxes.They are chiseling it out, one mattress-size panel at a time, then shoving the debris onto the floor below. There’s a giant pile of rubble down there, a jumble of dirty insulation, tar-covered roof decking and fire-suppression water pipes ripped from the building’s interior. To call the work hazardous would be an understatement. The workers are standing on the very roof they are demolishing, and none of them is wearing so much as a hard hat, let alone fall protection equipment like harnesses and lanyards. Technically, federal authorities require that, but the chances of a surprise inspection — or any interference from a state government that brags about its light regulations. . .”