The task of working all day logging and cutting down trees with a chainsaw alienates a good chunk of the labor force on pure physicality alone. Factor in the gigantic piece of wood that’s hurdling toward the ground on an 80-degree incline and the fast moving machinery, and you’ve got yourself a deadly career cocktail…not to mention the volatile and forbidding mountain weather patterns that many lumberjacks find themselves working in on the daily.
If your heart is set on felling trees as a way to personal fulfillment, bear in mind that every year, 82 out of 100,000 lumberjacks are killed on the job.
2. Sulfur Miners
It’s widely recognized that mining is an incredibly risky job. In fact, coal mining alone would probably make it onto this list, but another job carries even deadlier requirements. For a select few living on the Indonesian island of Java, a “day’s work” translates as extracting vital minerals from inside an active volcano. Every day, several hundred men trek to the center of Ljen Volcano to mine for lumps of sulfur, which they use to make all sorts of things from rubber to fertilizer.
Remarkably, the men have little means of protection, aside from a damp cloth to wear over their mouths. Over the last 40 years, 74 miners have died from gas poisoning and severe burns. Worse still, many sulfur miners are paid less than $10 per day for their life-threatening work.
3. Construction Workers
While we mill about like ants during our work commutes or lunch breaks, construction workers navigate their respective office spaces from above. Forget the famous photo of the New York workers eating sandwiches on a girder, the job of the construction worker is not to be taken lightly.
The possibility of being crushed under steel beams or falling from scaffolding is a very real one, and therefore sits at the very top of a construction worker’s risk list. There’s a whole host of other dangers like power tool malfunctions, risk of explosion, gas leaks and electrocution to add to the hazards of the growing construction business. It’s worth noting that roughly 4,000 workers are killed on the job each year in the US alone.
4. Target Assistants
This next job falls into the same kind of category as lion tamer–but with double the danger. Remember seeing those absurdly terrifying knife throwing acts at the circus when you were a kid? Well, just think about the knife thrower’s assistant for a second. One accidental slip or a sneeze and the knife could end up bonding with someone’s stomach, not a nicely-lacquered cork board.
Sometimes known as roofing, the art of steeplejacking carries a similar level of danger to that of standard construction work, but with the added risk of using alarmingly unstable buildings as your work space. Tasked with scaling church steeples and clambering onto rooftops, risks may vary from sliding down the tiles and falling off the edge of a house, to more minor (but still painful) rope burns.
Often precariously perched on top of old and uneven structures, the steeplejack also runs the risk of meeting their untimely and grisly demise by falling down chimney shafts, like a notorious case in England when a steeplejack fell 50 meters to his death down an old mill chimney when his scaffolding collapsed. The job title even carries the risk of being shot down by a sniper!
This last entry may come as quite a surprise. When thinking about fishermen, images of ruggedly individualistic, surly sea captains with bushy beards and little fishing boats often spring to mind. You couldn’t be more wrong. Particularly for deep sea fishermen, there’s a whole menagerie of hazards that come with the career. Often having to cope with the crippling isolation that comes with spending months alone at sea, the risks of drowning, being lost at sea, contracting an illness and not making it back to shore in time or even being crushed to death by a mishap with heavy fishing equipment are incredibly high.
A staggering 116 fishermen out of every 100,000 lose their lives to the sea every year.