Dangerous Occupations: A Look at Some of the Most Deadly Professions (Part I)

Some jobs are inherently dangerous, like deep sea fishing, oil and gas drilling and mining. And while the dangers of working on the seas or in the energy industry are readily apparent, that is not the case with all jobs. In fact, many people would likely be surprised at the injury and fatality statistics in rather unusual jobs.

Among the most dangerous professions are miners, loggers, farmers, fishermen, construction workers and sanitation workers. But also found on the list are a few professions that don’t immediately come to mind: window washers, helicopter linemen, deminers, crocodile wrestlers, lion trainers and target girls. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will take a closer look at these jobs.

First up: Mining.

As seen by the Peruvian mine collapse earlier this year that trapped nine workers under ground for days, the explosion at Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia in 2010 that killed 25 workers, and the Chilean mine collapses that same summer that trapped 33 miners for weeks, it is clear that miners face extreme dangers in their role.

Consider the story of Gilberto Angulos, a 30-year mining veteran. In 2003, he was in a copper mine, running excavation equipment when suddenly the area around him caved in. He was hit by the large rocks, and narrowly escaped death. However, he did spend over a year in a Santiago hospital recovering from his injuries.

And the accident could have been avoidable – misfiring explosive charges lead to the cave-in, and resulted in Angulos’ permanent injuries. Unfortunately, the mining company was never really held responsible – no safety violations were fixed nor did he receive compensation for his injuries behind his hospital bill.

Angulos’s story is a reminder to workers everywhere that no matter whether you are working in the mines or are in any other line of work, it is important to remember that you have the right to a reasonably safe work environment. When employers fail to follow proper safety procedures, or fix OSHA safety violations they can and need to be held accountable.

Please check back to read the next in the series of dangerous jobs.

Related resource: CNN.com, “Chilean miners liken themselves to kamikazes.”