22 November 2010

5 dangerous jobs

Health 24 went looking for some of the most deadly and dangerous jobs out there. If you’re going to do any of these, make sure you get paid a whack of money!


The world we live in has one universal language: money. However, for many people, earning that money is a seriously risky business. Health 24 went looking for some of the most deadly and dangerous jobs out there. If you’re going to do any of these, make sure you get paid a whack of money!

  1. Commercial fisherman

If early mornings, and working in wet and cold conditions aren’t your thing, then forget about going fishing for a living. Commercial fishermen freeze their waterproof jackets off. But in addition to this, they face many other dangers. According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO),globally 24,000 fishermen die each year while out at sea.

The common deaths here come from drowning or, if you’re a good swimmer but there’s nobody to fish you out, hypothermia.

Commercial boats are also decked out with dangerous heavy machinery that, if used incorrectly, could result in a fellow fisherman swimming with the fishes he was trying to catch.

  1. Policeman

No matter where you live, this is the truth. Since the dawn of Law and Order, probably in medieval times, police or people who symbolise police have had projectiles come their way.

Let’s take a look at the evolution of the methods or items that have been chucked at our beloved law protectors:

1)      Spit

2)      Rocks thrown by hand

3)      Rocks thrown by sling

4)      Spears

5)      Arrows

6)      Musket bullets

7)      9mm bullets

8)      Molotov cocktails

9)      Hand grenades

10)    Rockets

11) … And just about anything else that can be thrown or shot.

The workday of a policeman is long, the soundtrack is the constant beeping of the police scanner, the scenery is dodgy no-go areas, and the action is violent – trying to quell riots, rushing in suspected terror locations where people who are probably armed to the teeth who will not welcome you.

Oh, and other risks include increasing obesity, and many threats to mental health. Seeing too many dead bodies would eventually take its toll on the psyche of even the toughest cop. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not uncommon while working as a policeman.

  1. Lumberjack

Lumberjacks face a few more risks than having to face down the odd cross-dressing wolf with an eye for Little Red Riding Hood. In fact, they have one the most dangerous jobs in the world. Who would have thought, for instance, that the ability to avoid falling trees is an essential survival skill in this job?

According to and, about 82 in every 100,000 lumberjacks die each year on the job, often as a result of “natural” deaths, otherwise known as falling trees. Other means of death include equipment malfunctioning and accidental amputations.

Lumberjacks often work long hours outdoors in harsh conditions and mostly in isolated areas. Perhaps it’s less damp than a fishing boat, though.

  1. Coal miner

No introduction needed: the recent Chilean mine incident is proof that miners do not have a safe occupation.

If you don’t like sweat or dirt, turn around and head in another career direction. Also this is one heck of a claustrophobic job. The confined spaces and lack of fresh air will certainly send anyone who isn’t used to the environment into a panic.

Having to work in hot and humid conditions on a daily basis does pose a health risk, but the real dangers are more dramatic: gas explosions and cave-ins.

Cave-ins are the most frequent cause of death in the mining industry. It’s difficult to get statistics out of mining houses, but one stat we do know is that in China alone, 2,631 miners died last year (2009).

5. Health-care workers

One would think that hospitals and clinics are incredibly sanitary and safe workplaces, but health workers in fact face a number of serious risks

But arguably, it's the paramedics who have the highest risk profile. These speed racers face many dangers to save the lives of dying people, no matter where they may be. They also need to help keep the patient alive till they get the hospital while in a very fast moving vehicle.

Giving mouth-to-mouth to a person bleeding from the mouth is dangerous. The paramedic does not know the patient's medical history, nor does he know of any diseases he/she might have e.g. HIV/Aids.

However the most common route of disease transmission in the health sectors is needle prick injuries.

According to a survey conducted in 2007, the most needle prick injuries occur when the needle is being disposed.

The survey used 121 nursing students. Of the 121 students, 16% had suffered from a needle prick injury (NDI) and 8.3% of the 16% reported the NDI.

However, every job these days has its battles and dangers.As a person who sits behind a computer monitor all day you risk getting square eye syndrome as a waitron you risk falling on your hands, dishes, legs, face and your pride.

But most of us don't come even close to running the risks faced by members of the abovementioned professions, and we at Health 24 salute you for daily facing and surviving the dangers we would not.

Health 24 is doing a series on extreme jobs. Let us know which you think are the most dangerous/ stressful/ dirty/ weird jobs around -post in comment box below.

(Kyle Boshoff, Heath 24, November 2010) 


(Hubpages,,, climate change,,,,, FAO,

Read more:

Work making you ill?

Work and stress


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