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It doesn't take a large paycheck to convince people to take on the most dangerous jobs. Some jobs, like working in the military, are obviously dangerous. Soldiers die sometimes by the thousands each year. But there are plenty of jobs that don't involve being shot at that can result in an early demise.
There are jobs that require you to stand up against the elements, against machinery, and against gravity itself. You cannot be paid enough to risk taking on the most dangerous jobs around.
Structural Iron and Steel Workers
You may be surprised to know that only 15 steel workers died in 2013. It's an industry average that's kind of surprising, considering that these are the people who work on skyscrapers, helping to fuse steel beams together.
On the other hand, that's still a large percentage of all steel workers.
It should be no surprise that the people who stand on top of the world, inches from the clouds, die from falling. When standing that high in the sky, all it takes is one trip – but you won't be awake for the sharp stop at the end, so don't worry. The blood would have drained from your head long ago, resulting in you being unconscious for the last few seconds of your life. You don't notice the moment you die.
But you signed up for one of the most dangerous jobs out there. You knew the risks long before you tripped off the edge of the Earth.
Fishing is such a relaxing occupation, right? Sitting by the pond with your line out, just taking it easy. Well, I hate to break it to you, but professional fishing is not an easy, fun job. In fact, it's among the most dangerous jobs in the world.
An average of 22 fishermen die every year out on the high seas. Many of these deaths are the result of dangerous weather. A storm can blow a fisherman straight into the sea. But some deaths, as with all jobs dealing with lots of heavy machinery, are the result of mechanical failure. You don't use a fishing pole to catch enough fish to feed a nation. And any piece of advanced tech can go wrong.
Anything with gears can catch a stray flap of clothing, and pull you in. You'd be ground to bits before long, sprayed out into the ocean for the sharks to feast upon.
Yeah, trash is rotten. Trash is filthy. But that isn't why trash collectors have a very crappy job to do.
See, trash trucks have these mechanisms designed to compress and crush trash in order to fit more into the piles. So you dump trash cans into the truck, move onto the next point. Dump trash, move onto the next.
All it takes is the driver to push a button.
What if that button gets pushed when their partner is too close to the gears?
Every year, 23 trash collectors are crushed under the gears of their own truck. The teeth come down – bite into the ribs, bite into the spine, crush the skulls, rip limbs from their sockets. Blood mixes with filth and maggots, resulting in necrotic meat and festering flesh. If the injuries don't kill them, the resulting infections will.
Power Line Operators
You're dealing with incredible watts of power. Any number of things can go wrong. You might get bombarded by stray volts of electricity, struck by lightning, standing out in the open.
Or you could, as so many do, fall.
Every year, 25 power line installers and repairers die. No matter how precautions are taken to protect you from the power in your hands, nothing can protect you from the dangers of falling. Falling.
Ready for a shock? Operating chainsaws, chopping down trees, and being in the wilderness all day isn't the safest of occupations. In fact, operating such dangerous equipment can lead to an early demise. Who would have thought?
Seriously, though, the guys responsible for our lumber and fire wood put their lives on the line. Between 2013 and 2014, 78 loggers perished. Power equipment failures, trees falling on them – take your pick. There are numerous ways you can die for less than $40,000 dollars each year, and all of them will leave your corpse an obliterated shred of meat and bone.
Aircraft Pilots and Flight Crew
Every second of duty is dangerous for a flight crew. They put their lives in a pilot's hands, who, in turn, trusts the machinery to carry them from airport to airport. As Superman once told us, "Statistically speaking, [flying is] still the safest way to travel."
Maybe it's that way for travelers, but for crew? Working on an airplane is among the most dangerous jobs you could do.
Every year, 82 people die working as either pilots or flight crew. All it takes is a plane to go down or crash. It happens – albeit often with inexpensive airlines. Usually, if a boss doesn't spend the extra cash updating or fixing your tech, you end up with a copier that doesn't work. On an airline? You end up crashing your plane in the ocean. Dead. All of you. Dead.
Construction in general is very dangerous, but a particularly dangerous job is roofing. Roofers stand on top of a house, crafting the roof that keeps the rain from tumbling onto your heads. Of course, occupational hazards include sunburn, whacking your hand with a hammer...
Every year, 83 roofers fall to their death. While most falls result in bodily injury, all it takes is a good fall headfirst against the concrete or against a flight of stairs. Broken neck. Broken skull. Blood running, dyeing the pavement below scarlet. Many people, when thinking of the most dangerous jobs, don't consider roofers. I'm not sure why. It's clearly a dangerous job.
There are over a million farmers in America right now. While, percentage wise, not as many farmers die as, say, the percentage of trash collectors or roofers, a lot of farmers die. A lot. This makes farming one of the most dangerous jobs in America – and, by extension, the world.
There are a few reasons for this. Animals may be tamed, but you cannot control a frantic creature. Animals have been known to trample or impale farmers by charging straight into them. Horses have thrown riders off into rocks. People have even been killed by goats.
But the most common cause of death among farmers? Equipment malfunction. Tractor crashes. Fires started. Inhalation of fumes. Hair and clothes caught on gears – dragging farmers into the grinding iron teeth. Farmers operate a lot of heavy machinery. Any number of things can go wrong.
You occupy a vehicle on the road? Then prepare for this: your occupation is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. But you should know this. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the civilized world.
Truckers may be a little safer, seeing as how their vehicles are fortified. Taxi drivers, though? All it takes is one wrong turn – one drunk driver – and they might be compressed into the folds of a steel accordion.
880 drivers die every year. Let that sink in. They're just doing their job when either they fall asleep behind the wheel or get hit by someone else who did. And they'll die earning a paycheck that could never compensate for the risks on the road.