Are Immigrants at Increased Risk of Occupational Injury? A Literature Review

Simo Salminen*
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland.

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Salminen et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland; Tel: +358-30-474-2731; Fax: +358- 30-474-2020; E-mail:


The aim of this review is to examine whether immigrant workers have a higher occupational injury rate than native employees. We collected 72 studies from around the world. A calculation based on 31 of these studies shows that the risk of occupational injury for foreign-born workers is 2.13 times higher than that of native-born workers. In seven studies immigrants actually had a lower occupational injury rate. At highest, immigrant workers had ten times the injury rate of native workers, whereas in one USA study the occupational injury rate of immigrant workers was only half of that of American-born workers. However, three studies consistently showed that immigrant workers had a higher injury rate than the original population during their first five years at the workplace, but that after five years their rate decreased to below the level of native workers. The conclusion of this study is that immigrant workers have a worse work conditions than native workers.

Keywords: Immigrant, foreign-born, native, occupational accidents, review.