Home Work From Firefighting to Farming: 3 Dangerous Yet Fulfilling Careers 

From Firefighting to Farming: 3 Dangerous Yet Fulfilling Careers 

by Lois Earles

4,764 U.S. workers died while on the job in 2020 — an average of 13 workers dying per day, and the equivalent of one worker dying every 111 minutes, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While many jobs hold serious risks, however, there are plenty of career paths out there that make the danger well worth it for those who are passionate about their work. From firefighting to working in the construction industry, here are just three of the most popular jobs full of both risk and reward.

The risks of firefighting

Becoming a firefighter is a rewarding career path for many reasons, from joining a family-like work culture to the immense value in saving lives and protecting the community. In 2022, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that a total of 96 fatal firefighter injuries occurred while the victims were on duty.

Regarding the general dangers involved with the career, there are several — from the potential collapse of structures, the operation of large, heavy equipment, and climbing high ladders, notes one Indeed post. “Some firefighters also may train to respond to chemical spills or accidents and risk exposure to harmful or caustic substances,” the article states, going on to point out additional risks of the job, such as working in all weather conditions.

Long term health effects are another risk that many may not realize. “There’s a slowly emerging awareness that there’s an increased health burden, particularly of cancers, on firefighters,” says Elena Austin, an assistant professor in the University of Washington Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS). According to a 2022 report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, occupational exposure during fire fighting was recently declared to be a group 1 carcinogen. However, the University of Washington article goes on to note that the exposures of volunteer firefighters may vary from those of career firefighters “given their different levels of training and access to protective equipment, time responding to emergencies, exposures in their careers outside of firefighting, lifestyles and other factors.”

The dangers of working in construction

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), construction is a high hazard industry in which workers may engage in activities that can expose them to serious hazards, “such as falling from rooftops, unguarded machinery, being struck by heavy construction equipment, electrocutions, silica dust, and asbestos.” For many in the industry, the community impact and being a part of something with tangible results can make for a rewarding and much-loved job.

However, it’s worth noting that additional factors, such as a poor safety culture on site, improper training, etc. can present additional and avoidable risks. A construction accident can be a life changing experience that can leave you injured and uncertain of the future, whether the injury was the result of insufficient fall protection, improper training, or a dangerous ladder. Construction Accident Attorneys can often play an integral role in ensuring that a worker gets the compensation needed to rebuild their life — not to mention the value in pursuing justice.

Farming — more dangerous than many realize

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers are defined as individuals that run establishments that produce crops, livestock, and dairy products. These individuals “plan, direct or coordinate the management or operation of farms, ranches, greenhouses, aquaculture operations, nurseries, timber tracts or other agricultural establishments,” thus highlighting the extensive responsibilities of such work. Not only do farmers and other agricultural workers play a major role in society (thus making it a secure career choice), but it’s rewarding, hard work.

What many people may not realize, however, is just how dangerous farming can be. “Each year, more people die while farming than while serving as police officers, firefighters or other emergency responders,” notes one University of Missouri article. With a rate of 23 work-related deaths per 100,000 workers in the agricultural industry, it’s seven times higher than the national average for workers.

Fall harvest is noted to be the most dangerous season for those in the profession, highlights the article, which goes on to point out the danger of tractor rollovers. OSHA highlights additional risks of agricultural operations, including animal-related hazards, musculoskeletal injuries, pesticides and other chemicals, ladders and falls, and heat — to name just a few.

From firefighting to construction and even farming, there are plenty of jobs out there that are full of risks. However, the rewarding aspects of each job make them well worth it for those who are passionate about their careers.

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