Surprisingly dangerous jobs
The term “dangerous jobs” brings images of oil riggers, miners, loggers or scaffolding workers. These occupations have well-known risks and deaths in these industries receive national attention. Yet, many workers who are not in high-profile jobs face dangers that are often underestimated. In fact, transportation related deaths continue to be the number one cause of on-the-job deaths, a trend that has been the case since 1992.
While workplace fatalities reached the lowest level on record in 2008, it is hard to say if safety has improved as the sagging economy helped reduce fatalities. According to the latest BLS report (2008), on average, 15 workers died every day because of job injuries reaching a total of 5,214 deaths in 2008. Harsh environments, chemicals, power equipment, stress and assaults can create dangers on the job.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupations with the highest fatality rates per 100,000 workers in 2008 were:
Fishers and related fishing workers
Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
Structural iron and steel workers
Farmers and ranchers
Refuse and recyclable material collectors
Electrical power-line installers and repairers
Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
While professional and office work is not considered a dangerous job, 31 engineers, 27 teachers, 23 community and social service counselors, 17 secretaries and administrative assistants and 11 financial specialists lost their lives on the job in 2008. No job is 100% exempt from danger and everyone needs to be on board when it comes to safety.
Although the report showed declines in many areas, a disturbing number was the increase in workplace suicides from 196 cases in 2007 to 263 cases in 2008, an increase of 34% and the highest number ever reported by the fatality census.
According to the statistics, workers age 35 – 54 account for over one-half of the workplace fatalities and 92.5% are male.
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