So many things can go wrong on the job. You may strain muscles and tear ligaments in any line of work that requires movement, but some industries present much bigger dangers. If your job requires travel or your job site is on the highway, you are risk of being run over. You can fall from great heights, get trampled by animals or light up in a chemical explosion.
A recent study completed by finder.com.au surveyed all of the injuries and deaths suffered in 2012 to determine a list of the 10 deadliest jobs in Australia. If you or someone you love works in any of the following fields, make sure you pay close attention to safety standards for your own protection and that of your colleagues.
#1: Transportation Workers
This includes truck drivers, postal workers making deliveries and all workers employed in storage and warehousing within the transport industry. This industry reported the highest number of deaths out of all industries in Australia in 2012. This is likely due to the fact that there are so many things that can go wrong when you are out on the open road. While you can control your own behaviours to ensure safety, you are always at the mercy of other drivers.
#2: Agricultural Workers
This includes anyone working in theagriculture, fishing and forestry fields. There are so many perks to working out in the wild with Mother Nature, but that also exposes you to wild animals, elements of the weather and other dangers. With more than 50 work-related deaths reported in 2012, this industry was a close second for the deadliest industry in Australia.
#3: Construction Workers
It isn’t surprising to see construction in the top five deadliest jobs of Australia. In fact, many people would list it as number one if it weren’t for the statistical backing of this research. The construction industry can expose you to a variety of dangers from hazardous chemicals, extreme heat and cold or great heights. You may even encounter live electrical wires and hidden ground wires, depending on your job site and duties. This is why safety is so critical for every worker on a construction site.
#4: Manufacturing Workers
There were far more injuries reported in the manufacturing field than the transportation and agricultural fields combined, but the death rates are higher in those other fields. This makes manufacturing less deadly, but it is still quite dangerous. You are at heightened risk for injury when working in this field due to picking up heavy loads, operating heavy machinery, working near hazardous waste or chemicals and trusting colleagues to follow safety protocol.
#5: Public/Government Administration Workers
This category includes workers employed in safety and defence for the government or public works companies as well as police officers working the streets. While there were only 13 deaths reported in 2012, that is enough to squeeze this industry into the top five deadliest Australian workforces. There are known risks to working in law enforcement, but other workers within this field may find themselves at risk for auto accidents and other dangers as well.
#6: Mining Workers
According to Safe Work Australia, 21 of the 36 deaths reported in the mining industry between 2007 and 2012 involved vehicle accidents. Other fatalities included falls from great heights and strikes by falling objects. From falling down a mine shaft to ducking as heavy debris rains down unexpectedly, there is a lot to watch out for in this industry.
#7: Retail Workers
How can working retail put your life in danger? There were six deaths reported in this industry in 2012, which is more than you may expect but not quite high enough to make the evening news. While you may not deal with toxic waste or climb to great heights in this industry, you do deal with the public daily. Your job may also require you to lift and manoeuvre heavy boxes or drive in heavy traffic or in warehouse environments.
#8: Skilled Trade Workers
You could put this industry at number seven on the list with retail workers, since both industries reported six deaths in 2012. This category includes scientists, engineers, lawyers, accountants and other white-collar employees. Some jobs have a higher risk for injury and death than others. For instance, a scientist working in a lab with chemicals is much more likely to experience a potentially-deadly incident than a lawyer sitting behind a desk completing paperwork.
#9: Wholesale Trade Workers
This industry places many workers in large warehouses and manufacturing facilities, so there are flying objects to watch out for and great heights to climb. In some settings, you may also work alongside dangerous chemicals that can cause injury or death in the case of a leak or explosion. There were five deaths in this industry in 2012, and many of those involved driving accidents and falling objects.
#10: Electrical, Gas, Water and Waste Services Workers
Many of the deaths reported in 2012 for this industry involved traffic accidents. This reflects the amount of time that many technicians spend out in the field, providing service customers, maintaining equipment and restoring service after natural disasters. There were 530 injuries reported for the industry in 2012, and that is lower than what you may expect for an industry that places so many workers in high-activity roles. If this is your industry, you may be safer out there than you expected, especially when compared with some of the stats from other industries placed higher up on this list.
Now that you are aware of the deadliest career fields in Australia, don’t rush to pack up your tool belt and find a new direction for your life. These death rates are far lower than they were in previous years for many industries. This is a reflection of the progress taken by implementing and enforcing stricter safety protocols for companies and employees. Brush up on your safety knowledge and make sure you follow protocol so that you are as safe as possible even if your industry does fall on this list.