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Most Dangerous Jobs: Logging and Construction Workers (Part II)

In a post a few weeks ago, we blogged about the dangers of mining. In this post, we’ll examine two more inherently dangerous jobs that often result in on-the-job fatalities: loggers and construction workers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fatality rate for every 100,000 workers in the logging industry is 92. While that is less than one percent, it is still higher than most other occupations in the U.S.

Logging is always dangerous for obvious reasons, but loggers who work on mountain slopes have unique risks. They often fell 30-inch diameter trees on 80-degree slopes, where a slipup can send a log crashing down the slope, obliterating everything in its path. Even the loaders at the base of the hill have it tough; chains on pickers have been known to break while hoisting logs, sending sharp teeth catapulting through the air.

And these are not even the biggest danger for a logger. Broken tree tops and limbs, hid by live branches, often prove to be most dangerous. When these broken tops get caught up in the upper canopy, they have a tendency to come lose while loggers work on the base of the tree, far below. The tendency to fall, crushing the heads of loggers, has deemed them to be called “widow-makers.”

Similar to logging, construction is not without its unique challenges. Some would say that tightrope walkers have it easy compared to office building construction workers, who hoist giant steel beams high into the air. Falling beams are the most common cause of death among these workers, according to the United Steelworkers Union.

Construction jobs involving roofers prove to be just as dangerous: combining heights with on-the-job hazards like fire and electric shock. While roofer fatalities have decreased almost 20 percent in the last two years, there is still a fatality rate of 32 out of every 100,000 workers. However, thanks to state safety programs and OSHA education that teaches roofers how to deal with hazards, incidence rates will continue to fall.

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

Related resource: CNN.com, “America’s most dangerous jobs.”

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