While every industry comes with its own set of risks and dangers for workers, some stand head and shoulders above the rest regarding dangerous and potentially fatal hazards. If you've ever suffered a serious injury on the job, or you have lost a loved one who was fatally hurt while working, you probably know first-hand the incredible amount of emotional and financial suffering that can take place in the aftermath of these tragic incidents.
Top 10 most hazardous occupations
Sadly, there are thousands of workers nationwide, including in Nebraska, who lose their lives in on-the-job accidents every year. There are 10 dangerous jobs identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that have the highest rates of fatalities. Below is the list of these occupations starting with the most dangerous occupation and ending with the tenth most dangerous occupation.
- Loggers -- The fatality rate of this field of work is more than double that of the next occupation on the list. Heavy, dangerous equipment, falls from great heights and adverse weather are the hazards faced by loggers every day. "Widow makers" -- the name given to dead branches or treetops that fall on unsuspecting loggers -- have caused many deaths in this industry.
- Commercial fishers -- Fishing for relaxation and fishing to earn a living are worlds apart. Unexpected storms, slippery and wet walking surfaces and dangerous equipment pose the biggest risks for commercial fishing workers.
- Non-commercial aircraft pilots and flight engineers -- Smaller aircraft are harder to control if the pilots encounter unanticipated storms. The slightest malfunction of equipment can also lead to a plane crash.
- Roof workers -- While the common sunburn threat is part of the hazards faced by roofers, the biggest threat to their safety is falling. Not only from the side of a roof, but openings on a roof can also lead to severe fall injuries or even death.
- Refuse collectors - Workers who collect garbage and recyclable materials move about garbage trucks with incredible agility. Unfortunately, negligent and/or speeding drivers have caused the deaths of many of these workers.
- Structural steel and iron workers -- Working at extreme heights, these skilled workers face similar fall hazards as those working on power lines. The slightest misstep can be fatal.
- Commercial truck drivers -- These workers drive for many hours every day, often in adverse weather conditions. Even the most skilled truck drivers have to cope with the driving abilities of other road users whenever they are on duty. Truck drivers can be at fault for motor vehicle accidents just as easy as they can become victims, with either unfortunately scenario increasing the odds for fatalities.
- Agricultural workers -- Development in this industry has brought about exposure to heavy equipment and machinery that can be extremely dangerous -- especially when operated by untrained or fatigued farmworkers. The unpredictability of farm animals can also be dangerous. Potential injuries for workers in this industry include broken bones, loss of limbs and being fatally crushed by overturned equipment or livestock.
- Installers and maintenance workers on electrical power lines -- These workers face multiple hazards of which the exposure to high voltage electricity is likely the most severe. However, they often work at great heights, and, although the fall protection harnesses they wear can arrest any falls, being suspended for only a few minutes can have devastating consequences.
- Landscapers and grounds keepers - Along with often working long hours in the environmental hazards of extreme heat and/or cold, these individuals operate heavy equipment that can cause severe workplace injuries.
If you earn your living in any of these dangerous occupations, your family members will likely experience anxiety every time you leave for work. However, they may find comfort in knowing that if a severe or fatal injury was to ever happen, guidance from an experienced Nebraska workers' compensation attorney could ensure they receive the maximum amount of compensation to which they are entitled. This would provide much-needed peace of mind when attempting to cope with the emotional and financial difficulties an on-the-job injury could pose.