Top 4 Most Dangerous Industries for Workers

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Individuals across the United States work in a variety of professions. From nurses to teachers, construction workers to electricians, jobs and their associated daily tasks differ. For the majority of the country, workplace environments are safe and secure, but for some industries having to deal with dangerous machinery or other workplace hazards can be a standard part of the job.

In 2018, 900,380 workplace injuries occurred across the country. A report done by the National Safety Council found that the top three causes of work-related injuries are overexertion and bodily reaction, contact with objects and equipment, and slips, trips, and falls. Workplace injuries can be avoided, but due to the nature of some professions, workers in certain industries may be at a higher risk for suffering a work injury than others.

So, what are the most dangerous industries? Based off the number of injuries reported, and the average incident rate per 10,000 workers, we’ve gathered the top 4 most dangerous industries to work in.

1. Transportation and Material Moving 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in this industry suffered more injuries in 2018 than any other occupation, earning this industry the top spot on our list for the most dangerous industries for workers. 187,470 injury cases were reported in this industry last year, with the average incident rate being 193.7 per 10,000 full-time workers.

Some common roles in this industry include, conveyor operators, industrial truck and tractor operators, and other logistical related occupations. As part of their daily job, transportation workers often handle and maneuver specific machinery, and manually transport materials and equipment both of which can be hazardous.

2. Installation, Maintenance, and Repair

Whether climbing onto roofs to install cable systems, being suspended from telephone poles to repair electrical lines, or working underground to fix piping, workers in this industry regularly subject themselves to danger. In fact, the installation, maintenance, and repair industry saw a workplace injury incident rate of 148.1 per 10,000 full-time workers in 2018.

Why is this industry so dangerous? Workers are often at risk for electrical shocks, cuts, and may even encounter dangerous materials while on the job. Slips, trips, and falls accounted for one third of all injuries in this profession in 2017 and injuries in this industry continue to climb as unpredictable weather becomes commonplace across the country.

3. Agriculture 

The Agricultural sector includes occupations such as, farming, fishing, and forestry. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , there were 2,038,00 full-time workers employed in Agriculture in 2018. With close to 2,100 full time workers, this industry has an incident rate of 132.3 per 10,000 workers. With having to work with dangerous machinery daily it’s no wonder agriculture ranks as the third most dangerous industry to work in.

In addition to dangerous machinery, Agricultural workers are subjected to a variety of natural hazards and work regularly with chemicals and pesticides that can be extremely dangerous if ingested.

4. Construction and Extraction 

When people think construction, they often have an image in their head of workers digging, hauling, and building. However, this occupation can be dangerous, with 73,630 non-fatal injury cases reported just this past year alone. This industry saw an injury incident rate of 127.3 per 10,000 full-time workers.

Some common roles in this industry include building constructors, heavy and civil engineers, contractors, and specialty trade contractors. Workers in this area often use dangerous equipment and tools, are exposed to hazardous materials, and are sometimes required to work in elevated areas.

Most Americans never have to question their well-being and safety at their place of work, but for the more dangerous professions, workplace safety should be taken extremely seriously. Improved safety standards and procedures are at the top of the agenda for many industrial sectors as they work to provide a better working environment for their employees. Healthy, safe employees, should be a company’s number one priority.


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