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Recently released federal statistics show the number of Hispanic workers who have died on the job has risen by 76 percent.

Particularly worrisome is the number of work related deaths in Texas. Dallas Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials investigated 50 Hispanic workplace deaths in 2008.

According to 2007 data, the most recent available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 144 Texas construction workers died on the job. Of them, 144 were Hispanic workers.

So far in 2009, 21 fatalities have been investigated in Texas, including a scaffold collapse at the construction site of the 21 Rio condos in Austin which killed three workers.

The increase in Latino workers dying on the job can be attributed to more Hispanics in the workforce, said Peg Seminario, safety and health director of the AFL-CIO. In 1998, Hispanics represented 10.4 percent of the U.S. labor force. And in 2007, they accounted for 14 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The agency cites poor communication skills, lack of training, and exploitation of workers as factors that lead to workplace accidents and fatalities.

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