Dangerous jobs in the UK
The Law Of… Staying Safe At Work
A study of mortality rates within certain occupations was conducted and the results were revealed in June of this year. Some appearances on the list were quite surprising, including refuse collectors being the occupation that was the third most at risk.
But what about accidents at the workplace that don't cause death, but do put workers' and customers' wellbeing at risk?
Our Christopher Lewis, Personal Injury solicitor looks at the various reasons your career choice could put your health at risk.
Overworked And Accident Prone
A study that was carried out by the union, Unite, investigated chefs in London and their working hours in relation to their health. The study showed worrying statistics of overworked chefs having accidents or narrowly avoiding misfortunes because they were tired. Sadly, chefs are not the only ones worried about causing accidents because of long hours, as a recent study has shown. NHS staff have admitted that long, punishing night shifts put them at risk on the drive home as they struggle to stay alert on the roads. It is not new information that tired doctors are more prone to mistake. Not only are night shift workers in the NHS putting their own lives at risk, but mistakes that tired doctors make are also putting thousands of patients' lives at risk every day.
Exposure To Chemicals
Many jobs involve exposure to dangerous chemicals, but are all workers protected from dangerous levels of exposure? A study into the health of airline pilots and staff revealed that pilots are at risk of Aerotoxic Syndrome because of the system used to clean the air on airplanes and at the moment, nothing is being done to protect the pilots.
Construction is often seen as one of the most dangerous jobs because of the frequency of workers coming into contact with heavy machinery. But construction workers also face the added hazard of dealing with toxic chemicals and exposure to dangerous construction materials such as asbestos.
Surprisingly, construction workers aren't the only ones at risk of exposure to asbestos. Rising numbers of teachers are also being diagnosed with mesothelioma, an asbestos related cancer, because of the presence of asbestos in school buildings.
Farming has been found to be the most dangerous job in the UK with regards to mortality rate. Farmers are also at risk of exposure to toxic chemicals used in their day-to-day working life. The use of pesticides have been said to alter farmers' brain chemistry. A study in America found evidence to suggest that the prolonged use of pesticides lead to a high rate of depression.
Air pollution affects anyone and everyone, particularly the mass of people who make a commute every day to their place of work. However, there are jobs where exposure to air pollution rises as a result of the job itself. Lorry and van drivers are vulnerable to pollutants in the air as they drive. Slow moving traffic and increasing numbers of vehicles on the road put drivers at risk of lung disease.
There are growing concerns about those who work in offices that are by busy roads and therefore high polluted areas of cities. Poor air quality within buildings can be lethal for anyone suffering with a heart disease and any other respiratory disease that makes breathing difficult.
When data is released about what jobs in the UK are the most dangerous, it is judged on the amount of fatalities caused by occupations. In the most recent list, bin men appeared high up on the list, rated the third most dangerous job. Rubbish collecting is dangerous as it involves working in and on the road. Recently, it was reported that bin men are being put at risk by road users who decide to take short-cuts around rubbish lorries by mounting pavements.
For many years, the most dangerous job in the UK was mining. Whilst there are only 3 mines still open in Britain, it still remains one of the most dangerous occupations to have. There are obvious risks such as cave-ins and explosions, but miners often suffer from respiratory diseases because of inhaling toxic chemicals. Whilst huge advances in health and safety have been made within the occupation, mining still finds itself on the list of most dangerous jobs in the UK.
What Can Be Done?
Risks at work are inevitable for many career options. Even office workers are at a danger of exposure to air pollution and accidents at work. But when risks are taken that put workers', patients' and customers' health at risk, it is important to address them speedily.
If you have been involved in an accident that can be traced back to another's negligence, you are entitled to compensation for personal injury. Compensation can help with care and a speedier recovery for the victim.
"It is very worrying that workers are being so over-worked that their fatigue is leading to accidents. Nobody can work to the best of their ability without an acceptable and healthy amount of sleep."
"Employers need to consider the effect of over-working staff to the degree of mistakes carefully. They are liable to pay compensation if it is found that they did not address an issue of fatigue that led to a mistake."
"Workers who are exposed to contaminated air, in whatever form, should be protected against such exposure by equipment and kit. If appropriate material isn’t provided, again, the employer is liable."