The only way that the vast majority of us provides for our needs for food, shelter, comfort and health is through having a steady, well-paying job. Yes, at various levels of satisfaction and pay, most of us spend many hours at jobs. Most of us can take it for granted that we can work in a safe environment. However, there are many occupations that are dangerous. Further, even while working in safer jobs, accidents occur. Sadly and often, accidents can be serious enough to alter or even end lives.
Because of the level and frequency of work accidents, in 1970, the U.S. Government introduced the Occupational Safety and Health Act. At that time, the U.S. workforce suffered 14,000 deaths in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created a set of enforceable workplace safety standards.
OSHA regulations and enforcement have been effective over the decades. As of 2016, the U.S. workforce experienced less than 5,200 fatalities.
The rate of deaths occurring at jobs in both the private and public sector is low, taking place at an overall rate of less than four deaths per year for every 100,000 workers who are employed on a full-time basis.
There are certain occupations that have nearly a zero chance of a work-related fatality. However, there is also the fact that there are many occupations that contain a significant level of danger. Employers, due to concern over the safety of their workers and, just as often, in order to comply with OSHA requirements, expend time and money to create safer workspaces. However, it is also up to individuals to be aware of the challenges and danger of their work.
While OSHA and employer requirements can and do significantly increase safety for all workers, safety procedures cannot eliminate all conditions and mistakes that can result in injury or death.
In a survey, 24/7 Wall Street identified 25 occupations with fatality rates that range from twice to 20 times greater chance of fatal injury compared to most jobs. Job features that increase danger includes exposure to risky environments, hazardous substances and having to operate dangerous machinery. Here is the list:
- Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers
- Painters, construction and maintenance
- Industrial machinery installation, repair, and maintenance workers
- Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators
- Athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers
- Telecommunications line installers and repairers
- First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, andgroundskeepingworkers
- Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
- Maintenance and repair workers, general
- Electrical power-line installers and repairers
- Police and sheriff’s patrol officers
- Construction laborers
- First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers
- Grounds maintenance workers
- Miscellaneous agricultural workers
- First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
- Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
- Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
- Structural iron and steel workers
- Refuse and recyclable material collectors
- Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
- Fishers and related fishing workers
- Logging workers
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