Legal interpreting services during depositions and IMEs play an important role in worker s compensation cases.
For instance, many states do not require workers’ compensation benefits or insurance for agriculture-related businesses. However, this is a field often regarded as one of the most hazardous industries in the U.S. Add to this that most of these workers – 2.5 million – are migrant and seasonal farm workers, typically unable to speak English.
The nature of farm work makes these workers highly susceptible to injury. For example, most of the day is spent stooping to pick crops, working on ladders, carrying heavy loads, mixing, loading and working with pesticides. In terms of demographics, 78 percent of farm workers are foreign born, coming to the U.S. both legally and illegally. In most other industries, these sort of injuries can be prevented through training on proper techniques. However, as over 80 percent of all farm workers do not speak English as their primary language, they are unable to comprehend such training – if it’s even offered. What this means is that even though Federal Law requires safety training on pesticide use be given in a language the employee can understand, this is more often than not simply ignored.
What is significant about this is this is now being used as a loophole. Although many states do not require workers’ compensation coverage, an injured worker is able to sue for injuries under a tort claim with the lack of proper training as the grounds for negligence. Understanding this, it is essential that all pesticide training be done with a foreign language translation in the native language of the employee.