Most Americans between the ages of 22 and 45 spend 40 to 50 percent of their waking hours at work, says PBS.org. But for millions of them, work can be a very dangerous place.

Some of the Most Dangerous Workplaces

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and a research team from Costa Ivone, LLC, 3 million work-related injuries and illnesses occur each year in the private sector, particularly within the oil and gas and construction industries. Although this is down significantly from 6.6 million 20 years ago due to increases in safety and health practices, there are still a lot of dangerous workplaces and jobs, some rather unexpected:

  • Health care. Hospitals and clinics are better known for treating injuries than causing them, but health care workers experience an extremely high rate of ergonomic injuries, mainly from lifting and repositioning patients by hand instead of using a mechanical device.
  • Office workers. People who do office work often experience musculoskeletal disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injuries, mostly from excessive computer use.
  • Commercial fishermen. The BLS has listed jobs in commercial fishing as a dangerous occupation for many years, mainly because of its strenuous and long hours, hazardous working conditions, the risk of being swept overboard, and the possibility of shipwrecks.
  • Aircraft pilots and flight engineers. Although flying does not involve much physical effort, the mental stress of remaining on constant alert and the responsibility to provide a safe flight for passengers regardless of the weather conditions is taxing on workers, who often suffer the ill effects of jet lag, working odd hours, prolonged exposure to loud noises, and the threat of death or injury due to crashes.
  • Farmers and farm workers. Farming is one of the few industries in which family members, who often share the work and live on the premises, are also at risk for injuries from pesticide exposure, pulmonary disease, musculoskeletal disorders, hearing loss, and stress.
  • Employees who drive for business purposes are often injured in automobile accidents, some of which may be serious and even fatal.

According to a 2014 report from the AFL-CIO, the most dangerous U.S. state to work in is North Dakota, where the booming oil and gas industry has brought with it a fatality rate of almost 18 deaths per 100,000 workers, five times higher than the national average.

Work Injuries in Colorado

In most states, including Colorado, an injured worker cannot bring a lawsuit directly against the employer’s insurance company to recover for damages caused by the wrongdoer, although most employees will likely be entitled to collect Colorado workers’ compensation benefits under insurance provided by or through their employers.

Workers’ compensation typically entitles workers to receive medical, wage loss and disability benefits when they are injured on the job or develop a job-related illness. However, it is not always easy to get approved for workers’ compensation benefits, and some injured employees are wrongfully denied benefits. These workers have the ability to dispute the decision with the assistance of personal injury counsel experienced in work-related injuries.

Image by Kevan

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