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Top 10 Occupations with the Most Fatal Injuries

South Carolina workers' compensation attorneyThose who work around heavy machinery or perform physical labor are prone to injuries caused by careless mistakes or equipment malfunction.

A list of the 10 most dangerous occupations was compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The level of danger in each occupation was defined as the fatal work injury rate per 100,000 full-time employees.

Which occupations are the most dangerous?

In ascending order of danger, these are the most dangerous occupations as reported by the BLS.

Grounds maintenance workers: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a total of 1,142 fatal injuries among grounds maintenance workers between 2003 and 2008. The primary causes leading to fatal injuries included transportation incidents (31 percent), contact with objects and equipment (25 percent), falls (23 percent), and exposures to hazardous substances or environments (16 percent). Grounds maintenance workers have a fatal work injury rate of 17.4 and an average of 217 fatalities reported each year.

Supervisors of construction workers: Construction Connect has identified four of the most common causes of construction accidents in 2015. They include falls (38.8 percent), being struck by objects (9.6 percent), electrocutions (8.6 percent) and being caught in/between accidents (7.2 percent). Other causes can include equipment failure, scaffolding collapses and trench collapses. Construction has a fatal work injury rate of 18.0 and an average of 134 fatalities reported each year.

Farmers, ranchers and agricultural managers: Grain News has identified the primary causes of accidents caused in the farming industry. The majority of accidents involve equipment. They usually occur when workers take shortcuts, lack proper training, have poor housekeeping habits, or are distracted or fatigued. Simply overlooking crucial details and safety procedures can result in a fatal accident. Farming has a fatal work injury rate of 23.1 and an average of 260 fatalities reported each year.

Truck drivers: The trucking industry experiences more fatalities each year than any other industry. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck accidents are often caused by brake problems, traffic congestion, impaired driving, speeding, road defects, unfamiliarity with the roadway and fatigue. Distracted driving can also play a role in fatal truck crashes. The trucking industry has a fatal work injury rate of 24.7 and an average of 918 fatalities reported each year.

Structural iron and steel workers: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has documented numerous reports of accidents in the iron and steel industry. They commonly include falls, accidents with forklifts, structural collapses and other accidents with equipment. The iron and steel industry has a fatal work injury rate of 25.1 and an average of 16 fatalities per year.

Refuse and recyclable material collectors: Chron has identified the primary causes of accidents among refuse and recyclable material collectors. They include falls (especially while lifting), exposure to hazardous materials, contact with dangerous objects, diseases contracted by contact with pests, and vehicle accidents. Refuse and recyclable material collectors have a fatal work injury rate of 34.1 and an average of 31 fatalities reported each year.

Roofers: A 2012 report by The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) found that falls from roofs made up one-third of all fall-related construction accidents from 1992 to 2009. Roofing has a fatal work injury rate of 48.6 and an average of 101 fatalities reported each year.

Aircraft pilots and flight engineers: An article by The Conversation identifies five key factors leading to aviation accidents. Pilot error (50 percent) is often caused by overlooking or miscalculating crucial details relating to flight operation. Mechanical failures (20 percent) happen when a plane’s engine suddenly experiences a catastrophic malfunction, even if it has been well maintained. Less likely factors, such as weather, aircraft sabotage and human error, can also result in fatal aviation accidents. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers have a fatal work injury rate of 55.5 and an average of 75 fatalities reported each year.

Fishers and related fishing workers: A BLS report concludes that the fishing industry experienced 334 fatal injuries between 2003 and 2009. Roughly 80 percent of fatal injuries were caused by vehicle transportation incidents, often resulting in workers drowning. This includes sinking and falls from boats or ships. The fishing industry has a fatal work injury rate of 86.0 and an average of 24 fatalities reported each year.

Logging workers: A CNN article reported that logging workers often suffer fatal injuries when the direction of a tree trunk is miscalculated and either strikes or falls on a worker. Log stacks that are not loaded and secured properly can also result in fatal injuries. The logging industry has a fatal work injury rate of 135.9 and an average of 91 fatalities reported each year.

Hurt at work? Consult with an attorney.

Unfortunately, we can't predict when accidents will occur in the workplace. Things could be running smoothly one minute and a catastrophe can strike the next. Negligence often plays a role in workplace accidents. That’s why you should consult with an experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.

The legal team at Lourie Law Firm, LLC understands how the process works and how to deal with employers and insurance companies. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

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