Africa, People, Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific

6 dangerous workplaces from around the world

Responsible Business | Apr 27, 2018


“Safety is not an intellectual exercise to keep us in work. It is a matter of life and death. It is the sum of our contributions to safety management that determines whether the people we work with live or die.”– Sir Brian Appleton

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work and takes place on April 28th each year. It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on emerging trends in the field of occupational safety and health and on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities worldwide. The theme for the 2018 World Day for Safety and Health at Work is to improve the safety and health of young workers and end child labour.

A few interesting facts about work safety:

  • Every day, 6,300 people die as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases – more than 2.3 million deaths per year
  • 317 million accidents occur on the job annually
  • The economic burden of poor occupational safety and health practices is estimated at 4% of global GDP each year
  • It is estimated that right now 37 million child labourers are working in hazardous conditions
  • Transportation accidents were the leading cause of job fatalities in the US, resulting in 40% of all workplace deaths in 2016

Below you will find a list of 5 dangerous workplaces from around the world:

1. Underwater welding

Whether offshore or inland, the work of an underwater welder can be extremely perilous. Electric shocks, decompression sickness and drowning are some of the leading reasons why this is a career not for the faint hearted. The fatality rate for this type of worker (15%) is 1,000 times higher than that for law enforcement professionals.

2. Fishing

Rogue waves, huge swells, heavy equipment and slippery conditions all contribute to the dangers associated with the fishing industry. Commercial fishing is the second most fatality-heavy job in the United States with a death rate of 117 out of 100,000 workers. Fishermen often work extremely long hours, under very dangerous and extreme conditions where the smallest oversight can lead to disaster.

3. Logging

Another physically demanding and dangerous occupation is logging. In the US there were nearly 50 more fatal injuries per 100,000 logging workers in 2016 than the second most dangerous job. This is only made worse when dangerous environmental conditions arise, such as uneven, unstable or rough terrain; inclement weather, and remote work sites far from health care facilities. The vast majority of deaths are the result of contact injuries – falling trees and saws.

4. Aircraft pilots

A respectable, high-paying position, airline pilots are constantly responsible for the lives and safety of others. A pilot’s day can vary from working in bad weather conditions to fires and extreme targets, with 57 deaths per 100,000 workers. Pilots have inconsistent work schedules that often involve overnight layovers. A variety of health risks and possible injuries arise from inconsistent work schedules and includes deep vein thrombosis, dehydration, overexertion and bodily reaction.

5. Wasting collection

Garbage collection looks different in every country, but is universally dangerous due to exposure to hazardous materials and the high incident of traffic accidents. Waste workers deal with heavy and dangerous equipment daily, and according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the fatal injury rate for waste collectors is 33 per 100,000 – ahead of policemen, construction workers, and miners.

6. Offshore oil drilling

Extracting oil is a dangerous business, whether it’s done onshore or offshore. The risks on an oil rig are considerable, in a line of work that involves heights, heavy equipment and challenges getting to and from job sites and dangerous materials. According to data compiled by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a worker in the oil and gas industry is six times more likely to die on the job than the average American worker.


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