Some workplaces are inherently safer than others. At one end of the scale are professions like accountancy and human resources. At the more dangerous end lie more exotic careers more dangerous like lion taming and experimental test piloting.
But have you ever wondered which sectors are the most dangerous in the UK?
Using data from the Health and Safety Executive, we have compiled a list of the six most dangerous sectors in the UK.
Cultivating plants on an industrial scale is an immensely challenging job. You literally have to rip up the ground and churn the soil beneath. Then you have to sow millions of seeds and protect them from scavenging birds. When it’s time to harvest, farmers have to trawl through acres of crops, scything, threshing, tearing and ripping as they go.
The machines that power such an industry are genuinely mind blowing. Tractors can easily weigh upwards of 20 tonnes and fully loaded harvesting machines will regularly top 60 tonnes!
This gigantic machinery, long working hours and intense nature of the job make farming a difficult and dangerous career.
Of the 113 people who lost their lives at work in 2016, 21 were farmers.
It’s all too easy to forget about the food production system that sits behind supermarket shelves but the loss of human life is an exceptionally stark reminder of the people that get food onto our plates.
Driving up the A8 alongside an articulated lorry might not seem like the most dangerous of places but you’d be surprised.
When something goes wrong at the wheel of an 18-meter long, 40-ton heavy goods vehicle, it’s exceedingly dangerous for both the driver and any nearby motorists.
During 2016, tens of thousands of drivers were involved in crashes while transporting goods by road. Four tragically lost their lives.
There is a very good reason construction sites are festooned with warning signs: They’re full of potential dangers.
Add in the regularity of working at heights, unsafe structures, large-scale earthworks and so on, and it’s no surprise that the construction industry is one of the most dangerous sectors to work in.
Thankfully, better regulations, improved safety training and more consistent buy-in across the sector have resulted in consistently falling injury numbers over the past century.
To illustrate quite how far construction safety has come, consider this.
During the construction of the Forth Bridge, 73 people lost their lives. Last year, across every single construction site in the entire country, just 23 people suffered fatal injuries.
The comparison is both a measure of how far we have come in terms of workplace safety and a reminder of how far we’ve still got to go.
Manufacturing encompasses a huge range of subsectors, which collectively employ around 2.5 million people.
Of all the different parts of the manufacturing industry, the food and metal prefabrication subsectors account for around a quarter of all fatal injuries at work.
As the stats from HSE show, fatal injuries in manufacturing are actually quite rare events but that doesn’t mean we should grow complacent.
As long as people are still getting injured at work, we should still be pushing for better, more effective workplace safety.
Long hours, high stress and constant exposure to disease. It takes a certain type of person to want to work in the healthcare sector and we’re exceptionally glad they exist!
Unfortunately, healthcare is one of the more dangerous industries in the UK with five percent of people believing they have suffered from a work-related disease.
In the UK, we throw out four million tonnes of waste every single week. All of that waste needs collected, sorted and disposed of to ensure our streets are kept clean and air is kept healthy.
Our waste management demands mean thousands of people are employed all across the country to pick up waste and transport it to its final destination.
Unfortunately, that constant exposure to illness, bacteria and heavy machinery makes the waste management industry an exceptionally dangerous place to work.