Immigrant Labor and the Occupational Safety & Health Regime; Part I: A New Vision for Workplace Regulation

Jayesh Rathod, American University Washington College of Law


This article is the first in a series of three articles that together form a scholarly project that unearths the causes of recent trends in immigrant worker fatalities and injuries in the U.S., and presents recommendations for reversing it. The article examines how the history, structure, and operations of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have, at times, obscured the workplace safety concerns of immigrant workers and have left these workers with no meaningful voice in the regulatory process. The article presents a set of regulatory imperatives to guide OSHA’s future work with respect to immigrant workers. These imperatives provide a framework for other agencies that have failed to adequately protect or otherwise address the concerns of a historically disadvantaged constituency.