No matter what you do for a living, there’s always a chance that you will be seriously injured on the job, perhaps even fatally. Some occupations, however, present more risk than others.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2017, there were 5,147 fatal workplace injuries that year, which is one of the highest totals in the decade. According to the BLS report, these are the seven most dangerous jobs in America today.
1. Commercial Fishing
In 2017, the fatal injury rate was 100 per 100,000 workers, making it the most dangerous occupation. Working on a fishing vessel involves navigating slippery decks, hauling heavy gear, handling unwieldy nets, and other intense physical work. Fishing industry workers are also exposed to extreme weather conditions.
While the most common cause of death was drowning, fishing personnel also faced extreme risk when they worked in remote areas, where medical help was not readily available when an accident occurred. In North Carolina, there were 10 fatal injuries in fishing and agricultural occupations in 2017.
After fishing, logging had the highest occupational fatality rate of 87.3 per 100,000 workers in 2017. It is physically demanding work and often done in remote forest locations where medical assistance may not be close by.
Being struck by an object like a falling tree or branch accounted for the highest number of fatal injuries, followed by accidents involving chainsaws, harvesters, and other dangerous machinery. Logging is a significant NC business, and at least seven North Carolina residents died from logging injuries in 2017.
3. Commercial Flying
Although pilots and flight engineers enjoy a median annual wage of $111,930, their occupation is comparatively high-risk and accounted for 51.3 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers. Demanding schedules, long hours, and constant pressure to remain alert can also contribute to mental and physical exhaustion and a serious accident. When these accidents occur in-flight, they are a lot more likely to be fatal.
Any occupation that requires people to work at a height is potentially dangerous, which is why roofers accounted for 45.2 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers. Slips, trips, and falls are much more likely to result in death for someone on a ladder, scaffold, or roof than someone who works on the ground.
The private construction industry sector, which includes roofers, had the largest number of fatalities in North Carolina in 2017. Three-quarters of these workers were employed as specialty trade contractors.
5. Refuse and Recyclables Collection
In 2017, 30 refuse and recyclables collectors were fatally injured, accounting for 34.9 per 100,000 workers. Transportation-related accidents, such as collisions, caused the majority of fatalities in this occupation, which is also exposed to illness-inducing pollutants.
In one case that made headlines, Boca Raton refuse collector David Richard was killed when his truck suddenly reversed while he was standing behind it and dragged him 20 feet before colliding with a fence.
6. Structural Iron and Steel Work
While only 1% of the injuries suffered by workers in this category are fatal, structural iron and steel work accounts for 33.3 deaths per 100,000 workers, making it one of the country’s riskiest jobs. Like roofers, structural iron and steel workers usually work at height on roads, bridges, and tall buildings. A slip and fall or trip and fall can result in catastrophic injuries and even death.
7. Commercial Driving
This occupation, which includes truckers and delivery drivers, proved fatal to 30 people in North Carolina in 2017, accounting for 20% of all workplace fatalities that year. Across the nation, there were 987 fatal injuries, accounting for 26.9 fatalities per 100,000 workers.
The most common type of fatal incident in this category is, unsurprisingly, motor vehicle collision. Many truck drivers are also required to move and lift heavy objects like boxed goods and furniture, which can cause serious injury to the back, neck, and knees.
Contact a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Working in a high-risk occupation does not mean that you relinquish your right to workers’ compensation if you are injured. At Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC, we have helped many injured workers and their families receive the compensation and justice they are entitled to. We care about your future and fight to achieve maximum results in every case. To schedule a consultation, contact Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC or call 919-646-4220