Recently we posted Demanding Jobs: Rigorous Physical Careers and so this month we are going to follow up with 5 more dangerous jobs. ~Tim McMahon, editor
Dangerous Work: Five Jobs With the Most Risk
Workplace safety is often taken for granted, considering that the majority of jobs have virtually nonexistent injury rates. But on the other hand, it can be appalling to look at some of the hazards faced in certain other workplaces today. Although new technology is constantly improving workplace safety, several occupations in particular remain quite hazardous.
Construction workers in general face numerous workplace hazards, but combine the usual risks, with vehicles speeding past just feet from the work site, and you end up with one of the highest workplace injury rates in the country. Authorities have implemented measures such as lane closures, and stiff penalties for speeding in construction zones, which have been met with mixed success at keeping highway construction workers safe. 1.6% of all car accidents happen in construction zones and more than 20,000 workers are injured in road construction work zones each year resulting in over 500 fatalities a year.
Tunneling into the ground to extract minerals has been one of the most dangerous occupations since antiquity. It is not unusual to see headlines about miners trapped underground in a collapsed tunnel, or killed en masse by toxic gases. Advanced breathing equipment, and reforms in mine safety procedures have reduced the fatality rate, but it still remains relatively high. According to the U.S. Dept of Labor there were 36 mining fatalities in 2012 and 37 in 2011 in 14,093 operating mines. There were 2,315 injuries in 2012 that resulted in days lost from work and another 1,128 injuries that did not result in days off from work or roughly 3,500 injuries a year.
Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs
Driving a vehicle (often late at night in undesirable parts of town) with large amounts of cash is unfortunately a risky occupation. Assaults and other violent acts were a leading cause of fatalities for taxi drivers and chauffeurs. Situational awareness training for drivers can improve their chances of surviving criminal attacks or even better, dodging them altogether by avoiding highly suspicious customers.
Farmers and ranchers suffer from high rates of workplace injuries largely due to the dangerous machinery they must work with. Accidents involving tractor overturns are consistently a leading cause of agricultural workplace fatalities. Installation of roll-over protective structures on tractors has been proven to reduce this risk, although many farms are still operating without them. In addition, bailing equipment, cutting equipment, chain saws and other forms of farm equipment are notoriously dangerous to operate.
It’s no surprise that running into burning buildings for a living is dangerous. Firefighters are frequently in jeopardy of serious injury or death not only from structure fires, but also explosions and falls. Many departments issue fire resistant clothing from companies like TECGEN to reduce the risk of injuries or death in the course of fighting fires. This gear makes use of a proprietary high-density fiber blend in order to provide the best thermal protection possible.
A serious injury or fatality on the job is a terrible thing, for both the worker, and the company as a whole. Unfortunately, certain occupations are likely to have danger involved no matter what. In light of this, leaders in these industries should always work to implement new technology and workplace safety procedures to keep this danger to an absolute minimum.
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