Most of us emit a discontented grunt when the alarm goes off at 6.30am every morning – a shrieking harbinger of doom for the working day ahead.
Spare a thought for these chaps, though – their lives are very often on the line.
Miners and Rig Workers
Roof cave-ins, fires, floods, explosions. All in a day’s work for your average miner. And if that wasn’t enough, they also run the risk of contracting lung disease and other respiratory illnesses because of their prolonged exposure to dust.
Similarly, rig workers are vulnerable to a myriad of dangers. Those poor fellows going about their daily duties on the rig floor have the highest accident rate of all – volatile substances, heavy machinery and extreme weather conditions.
‘Health And Safety’ – often the three-worded scourge of the modern working world – has actually been a force for good in the construction industry, with fatalities reduced by two-thirds in the past 20 years. That said, the risk of injury and fatality is still high – only 5% of the UK workforce is employed in construction but it accounts for 27% of all employee fatality statistics. Slips, trips and falls are the main injuries, so watch your steps.
Farming and Fishing
Famers, eh? All they do is complain about their low crop yields and the diminishing price of milk, right? Possibly. But, despite making up only a small proportion of the UK workforce, the agricultural sector makes up for one in five workplace deaths. The main risks are tractors and machinery not being maintained, lack of training, the hazards of working with animals (bulls, heifers) and falls from roofs…
And while the blue and briny sea may hold a certain romantic allure to those not battling the choppy waves, an Oxford University study revealed that commercial fisherman are up to 50 times more likely to die compared to other professions.
Bomb Disposal Experts
Working with bombs is dangerous full stop but in the close range that disposal experts do, it’s to a degree that’s off the danger-o-meter. With the primary question being “Is it safe?” It requires intense training and focus to protect not only their lives but potentially the lives of hundreds of others. Job pre-requisites: courage and a pair of pliers. Or, in other words: heroes.
Skyscraper Window Cleaner
Whilst the UK can’t quite match the gargantuan heights of the US when it comes to skyscrapers, ol’ Blighty is still endowed with its fair share of mighty buildings (The Shard, One Canada Square, HSBC Tower – all in London) and in the absence of self-cleaning windows the job still needs to be done the good ol’ fashioned way by men and women with nerves of steel.
Squeegeeing your home panes every month is one thing; running a chamois over a 300 metre high building is quite another. While strict safety guidelines are imposed in the USA and Australia, in some places it’s astonishingly not compulsory to wear even a safety harness. Those suffering acrophobia need not apply.
You may as well call yourself ‘the human shield’, because when you’re on the payroll to protect the likes of prime ministers, presidents, rock stars and megalomaniac business men, you know chances are you might one day have to take a bullet for your boss. Kevin Costner and Clint Eastwood put their lives on the line. So can you.
Though often scorned and vilified by the press and public, the friendly neighbourhood bobby on the beat is a Jack Of All Trades when it comes to dealing with the daily lives of the general public. Dealing with domestic disturbances, crime, robbery, petty theft, and arresting unruly miscreants means they’re thrown in a menagerie of risky, dangerous and unpredictable situations on a daily basis.
Popular myth would have you believe most fire-fighters play cards and eat doughnuts more than they’re engaged in any real slide-down-the-pole-extinguish-out-of-control-fireballs action. And statistically that’s true. But, given the choice of putting your life at risk at the mercy of a raging inferno or filing away a few reports, what would you rather do? Tackling a blaze in a forest, combatting a house on fire, dashing into a building that’s ablaze to rescue children and animals. It’s like “London’s Burning”, only… real.
Jeremy Clarkson may have incurred the public’s wrath (again) with his flippant comment that all truck drivers do is eat Yorkie bars, but without them our supermarkets wouldn’t be stocked with all the goodies that line their shelves. 24/7 they travel the motorways of the country, facing often difficult road conditions, careless drivers and occasionally sleepless nights – a combination which ramps up the risk factor considerably.
These are the folk who literally do risk life and limb in their daily working lives. Can you think of any other dangerous vocations? Share in the comments.