On-the-Job Death Rate Among Mexican Migrant Workers

Paula Corpus has worked on the farms in Gadsden County for seven years, working in inclement weather and around dangerous chemicals, and she's not alone. A new report says Mexicans like Corpus often take hazardous jobs that often cause them their lives.

"There's a lot of companies do not have bilingual people there to street out the word on safety they give out hand books in English. If they give it out in Spanish, for those people they would probably lower it down," says Paula.

At Imperial Nurseries in Gadsden County, safety is the number one priority. The company has even installed precautionary signs around the 1100 acre site to prevent injuries or death.

"Every employee that comes on site before they are allowed to work for 46 hours goes through hazardous protection orientation,” says Edward Sossaman, Jr., senior vice president for Imperial Nurseries.

Sossaman says in his 40 years of business, no employee has died or sustained major injuries, but in Florida, deaths of Mexican workers have tripled from ten in 1996 to 30 in 2002, a grim statistic that can be changed if employers enforce safety first.

In Georgia, the number of deaths spiked in 2001 at 28 workers before falling back in 2002 to the lowest level in four years.