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Immigration and Work Safety


Immigration and its many prospective impacts keep being a significant issue in several developed nations. Accidents at the workplace lead to significant socio-economic costs to businesses and nations. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the impact of immigration on workplace safety, particularly in Spain. This country had the greatest number of accidents in the workplace from 1996 to 2003. The accidents needed more than four days of sick leave for recovery. The paper wants to examine how workplace safety can be ruined by alterations in the labour supply offered by immigration.

The paper will cover the main points :

  • Immigration inflow into Spain may pressure the labour supply, making Spanish-born employees take on risky work settings to retain their jobs. That could greatly promote reduced workplace safety and accidents.
  • The extra pressure coming from immigrants within the increased labour supply could compel Spanish-born employees to report fewer workplace accidents due to the terror of getting sacked.


The study of workplace accidents is vital as such accidents cost individuals, firms and nations a great deal in social and economic terms. They impact the people involved and the community as a whole. The study has not been well explored in past literature. Spain is a great place to do this study as it has lower workplace safety compared to other European countries neighbouring it. Also, it experienced significant alterations in its immigration flows during the study period.

The authors used an instrumental variable technique with immigrant clusters during the ‘80s in Spain’s regions (Bellés-Obrero et al., 2021). That was done to distribute the present countrywide flow of immigrants from each nation throughout the various Spanish provinces. The authors also found that the inflow of one thousand immigrants reduced the occurrence of workplace accidents from 2004 to 2015 by four for every one hundred thousand Spanish-born employees. That reduction was promoted wholly by the 2004 to 2009 periods, despite immigrant flows weakly affecting workplace safety during the economic recession period of 2010 to 2015.

The authors found that decreasing workplace accidents could be promoted by redistributing local employees towards workplaces with low injury risks. From 2004 to 2009, the inflow of immigrants decreased the employment rate of locals in occupations in the army, agricultural and fishing sectors. According to the O*NET categorization, such occupations have tremendous physical pressures. Also, the immigration inflows raised the employment of locals as technicians and managers. These occupations need greater human socialization. The authors lacked a solid impact of immigrant inflows on workplace accidents of citizens from 2010 to 2015. They believed the 2008 economic crisis that greatly affected Spain promoted the variations between the two study periods. It brought significant shifts in occupations because of job scarcity. Meaning they found no impact of immigration on the workplace safety of immigrants.


In conclusion, accidents in the workplace are crucial as they affect the affected individuals and society to a great extent. They make them incur significant social and economic costs. Following the study done in Spain to examine why it had a significant number of workplace accidents from 2003 to 2015, immigration does not affect workplace safety. The many workplace accidents of nationals at that time were promoted by the economic crisis of 2008 that brought about significant occupational shifts.


Bellés-Obrero, C., Martin Bassols, N., & Vall Castello, J. (2021). Safety at work and immigration. Journal of Population Economics34(1), 167-221.


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