Workplace injuries throughout the United States are so prevalent that a social consciousness has sprung up around the topic. People automatically categorize occupations as “safe” or “high risk” while lacking the relevant data. In many instances, the classification is easy to make. Workers in construction, for example, are likely at risk for occupational injuries. Additionally, first responders face life-changing danger during every shift. There are jobs, however, that you probably didn’t realize were dangerous.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases an annual National Census Of Fatal Occupational Injuries report. It contains data exploring various industries and reported deaths. The 2017 report, for example, noted 5,147 accidental deaths in the American workplace. The occupations with the highest fatality rates were those that shared common elements.
- Working from dangerous heights.
- Frequent contact with dangerous machinery.
- Driving for substantial periods.
There are, however, several occupations that might not seem obvious. Here are five professions that made the BLS list of fatal occupations.
- Athletes, coaches, umpires and related workers: Athletes and those in the athletic field are commonly injured in travel accidents. Even a “home” team must travel to the actual sporting event, to say nothing of the hundreds of miles the visiting team must cover. In 2017, there were 24 fatalities and 3,170 nonfatal injuries in this field.
- Taxi drivers and chauffeurs: These professionals spend their entire shift driving from point A to point B. Whether their own expertise or driving distractions caused the accident, or it was caused by the negligent drivers around them, this occupation is high-risk. In 2017, there were 62 fatalities and 2,640 nonfatal injuries.
- Grounds maintenance workers: People often dismiss landscapers because they are seen all the time. However, from pruning trees to working with electrical trimmers, these workers face improbable dangers. In 2017, there were 191 fatalities and 13,310 nonfatal injuries.
- Refuse and recyclable material collectors: Not only do these workers spend their day driving around the city, they are also exposed to contaminants which can result in serious illnesses. In 2017, there were 30 fatalities and 1,340 nonfatal injuries.
- Fishers and related fishing workers: Fishers and related fishing workers had the highest rate of fatal injuries per worker in 2017. Not only do these individuals face harsh environmental factors, but they are working with fishing nets, heavy gear and slippery decks. In 2017, there were 41 fatalities and 120 nonfatal accidents.
Almost any job can contain dangerous factors. From a simple muscle strain while lifting a box, to the failure of personal protective equipment (PPE) while handling toxic agents, workers need to stay vigilant in remaining safe and avoiding harm.