Workplace injuries are an unfortunate reality for millions of Americans each year. Around 3% of the workforce experiences an injury each year while on the clock. In high-risk work environments like factories and construction sites, all it takes is one slip for a traumatic injury to occur. If you work in an industry or environment that requires regular physical strain, consistent collaboration, and a multitude of moving parts, your odds of sustaining an injury in the workplace are higher.
Five workplaces in particular are the riskiest in terms of your probability of sustaining a serious injury. We’ll look at the first two in this blog and the other three in Part 2.
#1 Oil Rigs
A CDC report spanning an 11-year period from 2003 to 2013 found an average annual fatal injury rate of 108 for oil rig workers, higher than for any other job in the US. Oil rigs have several high-risk factors. The presence of an immense amount of a highly flammable substance creates a very high-risk environment for oil rig workers. Being out on the ocean creates another layer of risk, as natural disasters, slick surfaces, and general instability can make serious injuries more likely. Additionally, the shifts that rig workers are required to push through can exceed 16 hours, making it hard to stay alert and capable.
If you work on an oil rig, there’s only so much of your work environment that you can control. It’s critical to come into your shifts as rested and well-fueled as possible. Make sure your meals and lifestyle outside of work aid in your alertness and preparedness for the long workdays. It’s also vital that you notify a supervisor or team leader if you see something out of place, loose, or otherwise faulty within your workplace.
Loggers and forestry workers find themselves in one of the most high-risk working environments in the world. In 2018, there were 56 fatal and 1,040 nonfatal injuries reported for loggers while on the jobsite (usatoday).
Logging work is particularly dangerous due to the large equipment and rigs involved, as well as the immense weight of the trees. These large trees can lead to injuries by falling, rolling, or sliding. Sharp cutting equipment (saws and axes) create another source of serious injuries.
Working in dense forests can impact visibility, which increases the risk for accidents. In addition, there is the potential for interactions with predators like bears or wolves.
Working in such a raw, natural environment can be unpredictable and add to the inherent challenges that come with this tough, strenuous work. Understanding their surroundings and acquiring basic wilderness survival skills can improve a worker’s ability to predict and prevent certain safety threats. Communication and comfortable collaboration are also keys to limiting the potential for forest-work injuries.
We cover the remaining three high-risk workplaces—mines, factories, and construction sites—in part 2.