Workplace injuries have reached the point that nearly everyone in the United States either was injured on the job, has a family member who suffered a work injury or at least knows someone who has suffered. People have started classifying jobs as “safe” or “unsafe” based on certain assumptions. A risky job might be categorized as such based on no actual data. On the other side of the spectrum, though, are jobs that don’t seem risky … but are.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases an annual National Census Of Fatal Occupational Injuries report containing various descriptors of industries and their associated fatalities. In 2017, there were 5,147 workplace fatalities. The occupations with the highest fatality rates were those that shared common elements such as working from dangerous heights, frequent contact with heavy machinery or driving for substantial periods.
There are, however, several occupations that are deceptively risky, including:
- Athletes, coaches, umpires and related workers: In 2017, there were 24 fatalities and 3,170 nonfatal injuries in this field. Teams – both “away” and “home” – must put in many hours and miles of travel leading to the possibility of motor vehicle collisions.
- Taxi drivers and chauffeurs: In 2017, there were 62 fatalities and 2,640 nonfatal injuries. Accidents can be caused by fatigue, inexperience or distracted driving. Additionally, sharing the road with negligent drivers can lead to serious accidents.
- Grounds maintenance workers: In 2017, there were 191 fatalities and 13,310 nonfatal injuries. The risks might be easy to miss, but these workers spend their days working with electrical trimmers, hazardous chemicals and sharp implements.
- Refuse and recyclable material collectors: In 2017, there were 30 fatalities and 1,340 nonfatal injuries. They can share the same travel risks as taxi drivers, but they can also be exposed to contaminants.
- Fishers and related fishing workers: In 2017, there were 41 fatalities and 120 nonfatal accidents. These workers face harsh environments, heavy gear and sharp tools.
Nearly all jobs contain factors that can lead to serious injury. From toxic exposure to the repetitive strain on muscles, workers need to stay vigilant in remaining safe and avoiding harm.