The U.K.'s Most Dangerous Jobs

By Peter Cherewyk | November 12, 2009 AAA


While many of us are sitting in our padded computer chairs, safe in the office environment - with the only health hazards facing us being spilled coffee or the occasional paper cut - there is a significant number of workers battling fatal injuries on the job every day. Recently, various TV networks have been showcasing some of these dangerous jobs. But the perils of hazardous job sites aren't restricted to police officers and animal trainers. In many cases, the most (seemingly) common jobs can create the highest fatality rates. The careers listed below represent the most fatal jobs in 2008-2009.

  1. Agriculture - Fatality rate: 5.7 per 100,000
    What is so dangerous about planting potatoes? Agriculture workers today are often responsible for operating heavy machinery in every weather condition. Years ago, the average farmer could work his or her own field and make a decent living. Today, agriculture needs to be over massive plots of land, requiring an increased amount of automation

  2. Construction - Fatality rate: 2.5 per 100,000
    A typical work environment in construction may include heavy machinery, inclement weather and slippery surfaces, depending on the specific job or time of year. Perils of working on roofs or hanging from scaffolding are compounded by the attitude of fellow coworkers who may not be safety-conscious. There are plenty of safety regulations and precautions, but many workers feel encumbered or even ridiculed by coworkers if they are followed to the word.

  3. Manufacturing - Fatality rate: 1.1 per 100,000
    Over the last 10 years, the manufacturing industry in the U.K. has been moving toward higher-tech solutions to production needs. This results in a much better work environment. At the same time, if your company is building vehicles such as cars or planes, you will be in an environment with large machinery. Also included is process manufacturing, chemical production and metals and engineered metal products. These are not a places you would let your child play.

  4. Services- Fatality rate: 0.3 per 100,000
    This is one of the lower fatality rates per 100,000. The services industry encompasses a wide range of jobs including retail and food, which is not too dangerous, but it also includes water and air transportation, as well as land transport via railways and pipelines. These services bring the fatality rate of the industry up.

Jobs With the Highest Rates of Injury
Fatal injuries aside, major injuries such as those requiring amputation, 24-hour admittance to hospital or resuscitation can also occur on the job. The chart below shows some of the most dangerous jobs in terms of injuries and also includes their fatality rates.

Industry Major Injuries per 100,000 Fatal Injuries per 100,000
Agriculture 205.4 5.7
Business and finance 45.4 0.1
Construction 254.1 2.5
Education 83.1 0.0
Extractive and utility supply 202.7 3.4
Health and social work 80.8 n/a
Hotels and restaurants 67.5 0.2
Manufacturing 165.5 1.1
Public administration 152.4 0.5
Transport, storage and communication 214.4 1.2
Wholesale and retail trade 77.7 0.3
Source: Health and Safety Executive www.hse.gov.uk

Conclusion
Overall, even the most dangerous work environments are getting much better. In fact, the fatality rate is 22% lower for the past year compared to the previous five-year average. Although dangerous jobs are often high-paying and require significant education, the risks that come with them may not outweigh the perks for many.

Note: The data was compiled by the Health and Safety Executive and reported in late October of 2009. The figures represent fatalities recorded in 2008/09, calculated per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in the occupation.

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