In 2006 a logger in Washington was struck in the neck and killed by a log that had worked itself lose and rolled down a hillside. Two days later a lobsterman was thrown overboard by the rough waters and drowned. People will put themselves in all kinds of dangerous situations if the money is right.
Forty-eight fishermen died in 2005. That was up from 36 the year before. Being a fisherman on the open sea was the most dangerous occupation in 2005, with a fatality rate of 118.4 per 100,000 workers. This is more than 30 times the fatality rate of an average job. Spears, heavy anchors, ropes and nets, combined with slippery and often icy decks, can turn deadly fast on rough waters. It is easy for a man to become entangled in the nets or ropes or simply to fall overboard into the unforgiving sea.
The dangerous reputation of logging was kept alive in 2005, with a recording of 80 deaths. That is a fatality rate of 90.2 per 100,000 workers. That is actually an improvement from the year prior, with 85 deaths recorded. Loggers deal with enormous weights, sharp tools and hard to control tree trunks. Also, if a logger does become seriously injured, it is unlikely that help would come quickly because they often work in far off and remote areas.
Flyers had a better go this year. Their fatality rate dropped, but was still 66.9 deaths per 100,000 workers, which was high enough to qualify them as the third most dangerous occupation in 2005, behind fishermen and loggers.
According to CNN.com, “Most pilot fatalities come from general aviation; bush pilots, air-taxi pilots, and crop-dusters die at a far higher rate than airline pilots. Again, Alaskan workers skew the professions data; recent National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) stats indicate that they have a fatality rate four times higher than those in the lower 48.”
Other occupations that rank highly among unsafe conditions are farm workers, structural metal workers, roofers, electrical power installers, construction laborers and truck drivers.
The occupation truly worthy of the title for the most dangerous job in the world is arguably those on crab fishing vessels. These men work grueling hours on fishing boats looking for snow crab. The Discovery Channel even produced a reality show, “The Deadliest Catch,” which follows eight ships on their crab fishing adventure.
“The crab fishery in Alaska is particularly perilous,” according to University of Alaska economist Gunnar Knapp. Though drowning is the most common cause of death among crab fishermen, the entirety of the job is dangerous. With the season lasting only three to four weeks, it’s a fast pace job in unsafe conditions.
Along with having to act fast, crewmembers have to fight severe cold and exhaustion, often working 40 out of 50 hours. The gamble is what feeds the motivation for these young men, the possibility making more than $1,000 per day, or coming home with only $300 for the entire season.
These jobs continue to put their workers in dangerous and exhausting situations, but the good pay and thrill of the ride seem to be enough to keep them punching in each year. In the end it may be their families who pay the ultimate price.