Chicago essential workers in frontline industries face higher rates of injury and death due to exposure to COVID-19.
Frontline Industry Workers
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 30 million American workers were regularly employed in frontline industries deemed essential by the federal government. Frontline industry workers are considered essential to protect public health and safety by providing medical transportation, medical treatment and equipment, and essential supplies to American consumers.
Frontline industry workers are employed in a variety of jobs, but only six industries are considered frontline industries by the federal government. Demographic profile studies show the national statistics of workers within these industries.
Healthcare employees are among the most needed frontline workers, but also among the highest risk group for injury and death. Workers in the healthcare industry are employed in: hospitals, surgical centers, and clinics; outpatient care centers; psychiatric and substance abuse facilities; and nursing homes. Profile studies show that women make up 76% of the healthcare workforce.
Public transportation services such as buses, subways, and trains are considered frontline industries by federal officials. According to profile demographic studies, workers of color are particularly overrepresented in public transportation occupations with bus drivers and transit workers making up 56.7% of public transportation frontline workers.
Trucking, Warehouse, and Postal Services
Trucking, warehouse, and postal service industries are responsible for shipping, storing, and delivering essential supplies to American businesses and consumers. Workers of color make up most of the top 10 jobs within trucking, warehouse, and postal service industries. These jobs also make up a high percentage of job-related injury claims seen by workers comp lawyers.
Within the cleaning services industries, there is a large percentage of Hispanic workers (40.2%) and immigrant workers (38.2%). Immigrant workers who perform janitorial and cleaning services for public buildings, transportation vehicles and equipment, and hotels make up a high percentage of workers in this frontline industry. In cleaning services, 3 in 10 workers live below the poverty line and do not have health insurance.
Grocery, Convenience, and Drug Stores
Women make up a high percentage of workers within these consumer service industries working as pharmacy technicians, cashiers, counter workers, customer service reps, and salespeople. In most of these frontline industries, women make up over 65% of the workforce.
Childcare and Social Services
According to national demographic profiles, over 85% of workers in childcare and social services are women, and 4 in 10 workers are black women.