Coast Guards hold one of the noblest and most virtuous of jobs around as it involves saving people’s lives. However, it can also be a very dangerous place to work especially in instances where the saviors themselves need rescuing. Coast Guards are exposed to many harsh environments and dangerous situations such as natural disasters, sea rescues, night rescues, etc.
24. Construction Workers
Construction workers are constantly exposed to hazardous materials, explosives, power tools and heavy machinery. Moreover, construction workers are also exposed to all sorts of hazardous environments such as underground tunnels, busy highways, building sites, and great heights. The fatality rate in the US is estimated at 18.3 per 100,000 workers.
23. Zoo Keepers
It should go without saying that handling wild animals is a dangerous job. Most of the danger involves cleaning the animal’s living quarters, feeding the animals and tending to their health needs. You have to always be on your guard on this profession since one wrong step could be the difference between life and death.
22. Slaughterhouse Workers
These workers are not only heavily exploited, but the rate of worker injury is three time that of other manufacturing and processing jobs. These injuries range from repetitive motion injuries to serious injuries that require amputation; a result of the demand for speed at the assembly line, where workers are required to slaughter up to 50 cattle per hour.
21. Oil and Gas Crew
Oil and gas crew’s deaths and injury were listed as 27.1 per 100,000 workers during 2003-2010. Besides the dangers of contusions from slips and falls, they are also confined to small areas where they are required to pull flammable fluids out of the grounds and separate extremely poisonous substances. They also have to climb hundreds of feet into the air to work with heavy machinery.
Security guards help keep homes and business establishments safe from robbers and trespassers. However, there is also a great chance that they will have to face the intruders on their own putting their lives at a considerable risk.
19. Cement and Concrete Manufacturers
Workers who frequently work with cement and concrete have a high risk of suffering from cement burns and other respiratory illnesses. Dry cement is a safe substance when it is still in its calcium oxide form. However, once it is mixed with water, it becomes calcium hydroxide, which is a heavily alkaline substance. Besides the danger of chemical burns, they can also inhale the dust that comes from the cement, which can cause respiratory illnesses.
While this is a very noble job, it is also considered to be one of the most dangerous ones. Though firefighters are trained to be able to handle fire situations, there is no guarantee that they will not suffer injury when they engage burning buildings. Besides the fire, other occupational hazards can come from smoke inhalation, falling debris, and separation from team members.
Grain handling may not sound like a dangerous job however with a fatality rate of 12 per 100,000 workers it’s anything but safe. It only takes five seconds for a worker to become engulfed in flowing grain and unable to get out; 60 seconds for the worker to be completely submerged thus resulting in death by suffocation.
16. Merchant Mariners
Another sea-faring occupation that is included in the top most dangerous jobs; merchant mariner has 23 deaths and 5 injuries per 100,000 workers. Just like commercial fishermen, these seafaring workers are at sea for months on ends before they are able to see land or a port again. Most of what they do involves working within the ship’s broilers and other equipment. Because of the strenuous environment, they also have to battle with depression and other psychological issues.
For a car dependent society, the mechanic profession is crucial. However, this profession comes with a bag full of dangers involving extremely heavy objects, toxic fumes, and long arduous work hours.
14. High-rise Window Cleaners
High-rise window cleaners have to work in very dangerous conditions due to possible wind gusts at such high altitudes. If workers are not careful, strong wind drafts are enough to jeopardize their lives. A fall from such altitudes is a guaranteed death.
13. Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs have a fatal injury rate of 24.2 out of 100,000. The extreme dangers involved in these jobs are due to the sheer number of hours logged by taxi drivers and chauffeurs. Oftentimes, they have to work more than 12 hours a day and most of their work hours are conducted at night, increasing the odds of being involved in some sort of accident. They can also experience stress and fatigue due to heavy traffic and other road conditions.
12. Structural and Steel Workers
There is a high fatality rate among professional structural and steel workers due to falling debris; and the equipment and materials used. In 2008, fatalities in this profession were pegged at 47 per 100,000 steel workers making it the fourth most dangerous jobs at that time.
The good news is that, according to the United States Department of Labor Statistics, mining incidents have been on a declining trend. Nevertheless, mining is still and extremely dangerous job with 35 fatalities recorded in 2012 (an improvement from 73 fatalities recorded in 2006). Workers are still exposed to harsh working conditions and are still susceptible to cave-ins and respiratory diseases.
The imminent dangers of this occupation are in the injuries that can occur from falling off light poles and towers. Since they are also working with high-voltage power lines, there is also the danger of electrocution.
9. Farmer and Ranchers
In the United States and other developed countries where state-of-the-art machinery are employed in farming, there are 38 deaths per 100,000 workers. These fatalities stem from occupational accidents due to tractors and machinery used to plant, cultivate and harvest crops. In third world countries, they lack these occupational hazards since many still use the traditional methods of farming which involves the use of a water buffalo or other large animal. However, the risks involved besides the back-breaking labor usually come from the harsh exposure to the sun, which can cause skin cancer, or from occasional snake bites.
Roofing’s death statistics currently stand at 34 deaths per 100,000 roofers. A roofer’s work condition usually involves having to work on the highest height of a roof during windy conditions, watching out for electrical equipment, and walking on steep pitches. Roofing also involves the risk of falling from the roof, scaffolding and ladders, or from burning themselves from the toxic and flammable substances that roofers have to work with.
7. Truck Drivers
There are lots of accidents involving truck drivers due to fatigue, irregular working hours, bad roads, harsh weather, size of the vehicles, and other contributing factors. Another hazard for truck drivers involves driving on iced roads which possesses the greatest threat especially in the winter months.
6. Refuse and Recyclable Material Collector
We understand the fact that garbage disposal is a dirty job. However, its dangers may not be entirely apparent. Nevertheless, garbage collecting is a dangerous job. Workers are exposed to unknown items that may in fact be bio-hazards and as such could pose serious infectious risks. Moreover, workers are exposed to powerful hydraulic machines that can severely injure and even kill.
It’s not surprising that law enforcement is on our list. Police officers have to deal with dangerous situations on a daily basis; situations that could involve armed robberies, assault, terrorist threats, etc. Ironically, the main cause of police casualties does not stem from firearm related fatalities but rather from traffic incidents. This could be due to instances such as high speed chases and or traffic pull overs.
Stuntmen perform amazing feats all in the name of entertainment. However, probably one of the most amazing things about their jobs is the high risk associated with it. In 2012, 2.5 out of 1,000 fatalities were reported in this profession. That’s a higher risk than law enforcement!
3. Professional Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers
Pilots and flight engineers had 56 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2011, making this the third most dangerous occupation in the United States. This fatality statistic is fueled by airplane crashes related to operator fatigue.
Loggers go by the name of lumberjacks, woodcutters or woodhicks and their main occupation involves harvesting lumber. However, their job occupation is considered to be one of the most dangerous jobs available with a fatality statistic of 91.9 out of 100,000. Injuries from falling trees, severed limbs from cutting machines, tractor fatalities, etc. all contribute to this fatality statistic.
1. Commercial Fishermen
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. During 1992-2008, an annual average of 58 reported deaths occurred (that’s 128 deaths per 100,000 worker). The main causes of fatalities stem from vessel disasters (261 deaths, 52%) or falling overboard (155 deaths, 31%).