On the back of recent reports on the collapse of the oil industry, questions are being raised on just how well-protected these oil rig workers are. Long regarded as one of the most dangerous professions in the country, energy and offshore oil workers have been grappling this year with mass layoffs and several explosion incidents, including the recent Gulf Cost explosion that left one worker dead.
The $4.5 billion settlement case against BP Gas is still fresh in the minds, and since then, many workers have risen to demand better protection.
However, it’s not just workers in the oil and gas industry that are risking their lives every day. With the 2019 workplace injury statistics rising to 2.9 per 100 full-time equivalent workers, we have seen some interesting shifts when it comes to the country’s most dangerous professions. While some of these outdoor jobs pay well, they do not come without heightened risks.
1. Truck Drivers And Transport Workers Continue To Drive The Rise In Fatal Workplace Injuries
In the latest workplace injury statistics released by BLS, transportation accidents led the list of most common causes of fatal workplace accidents. The transportation and warehousing industry averaged 14 fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers. For the 3.5 million Americans that work as truck drivers, this risk is further elevated with 26 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time workers.
The long hours of the job coupled with hazards of the road like distracted driving can present dangerous conditions for anyone choosing to enter the industry. A recent federal study of truck drivers averaging 7,500 miles of driving averaged just 4.8 hours of sleep per day.
2. Oil And Gas Derrick Operators Rise Thanks To Increased Interest In The Energy Sector
The oil and gas industry has long been a popular industry for graduates, mainly for its considerable salary perks. According to estimates from PayScale, the average salary for oil and gas occupation comes in at $81, 286 – over three times the average for a truck driver.
In 2019, the production of oil boomed in the US, and so did interest in the industry once again. As more companies explored opportunities like the 1.8 billion barrels of oil found in Guyana, additional job opportunities opened up and exploration spending hit new heights.
However, while demand for employees like derrick operators and drilling engineers skyrocketed, so did the number of work-related fatalities in the industry. A study by API showed that over 10.3 million people are currently employed in the oil and gas industry. The same study, coupled with statistics by the CDC, showed that work-related fatalities also rose by 27.6 percent at the same time.
One of the most recent incidences was the lawsuit against EOG Resources, which saw former workers sue for gas explosion compensation in a bid to drive better safety practices in the industry. While the US leads the globe when it comes to safety training programs for oil and gas, the country still records a fatality rate that is seven times higher than that of other industries between 2003 and 2010, making it one of the most dangerous jobs on the market today.
3. Roofers Drop Down On The List
In 2016, roofing was ranked the fourth most dangerous job in America. Fast forward to 2019, and the occupation had dropped a few places, but it still maintained a spot in the top ten most dangerous occupations.
With more homeowners spending more on home repairs and improvements, demand for roofers and other workers in the construction trade has increased dramatically. Every day, roofers are faced with hazards like roof stability, debris, and working at heights.
Protecting Yourself When Working In A Dangerous Industry
These occupations are just a handful of some of the hazardous careers out there. If you are considering either one of these or are already working in a dangerous job, you must take steps to protect yourself. One of the first things employees should do is know their rights.
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, federal law dictates that employers are required to provide a workplace free of known hazards and risks.
Other laws include being entitled to appropriate safety and health training in a language you understand, along with requesting and receiving safety equipment like gloves and lifelines for falls. If you do suspect that unsafe conditions are being ignored, you can also request an inspection by OSHA.
Personally, employees in dangerous professions can also take steps like securing ongoing health and safety training, along with personal health, long term care, or income loss insurance policies. In 2019, a shocking 10.9 percent of the population was shown to be uninsured, leaving them and their families vulnerable. If you’re employed in a dangerous role, this isn’t a risk you want to take.