The 10 most dangerous jobs in America

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  • Logit ,
    Oct. 17, 2013 2:16 p.m.

    @azreader1, that's an excellent point. Relative to other causes of death, the percentages and numbers here are minimal. Workplace safety has increased 100-fold in the last hundred years and statistics like this just don't shock like they once may have.

    But what we tend to find upsetting or newsworthy in death statistics often isn't the relative number of deaths but in HOW such deaths occur. Psychologists have a concept called "locus of control" to describe the degree to which death (and other things) are perceived to be controllable and, hence, preventable vs. uncontrollable. Deaths and tragedies deemed under someone else's "locus of control" are far more upsetting. (For example, death by murder, which is under a perpetrator's control, is much more heinous than death by heart attack).

    Workplace deaths are perceived as being under someone's control; they're perceived as preventable--provided the right safety precautions are taken. Someone (or an employer) is perceived at fault. Hence, reporting on deaths in the workplace is going to always be more newsworthy than reporting the 100x deaths from unintentional poisonings or heart disease, etc.

  • azreader1 tucson, AZ
    Oct. 17, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    With more than 32,000 deaths annually from motor vehicle accidents in 2010 and 2011 (a significant decrease from prior years), and approximately 600,000 deaths in 2012 from heart disease alone, it is difficult to get very excited about the kinds of numbers shown in this article. Heck, even the numbers of children under 5 years of age killed in 2010 by unintentional poisonings from drugs and other household chemical substances (28) exceeded the number of electrical and power-line workers killed in 2012 (26).

    That's one of the problems with reporting these kinds of numbers: They may seem significant until you really start looking at all causes of death (including disease and non-work related accidents), and then none of these numbers seem all that high or even statistically significant. In other words, if this is all we have to worry about in terms of our health and safety, then work, even in the most "dangerous" occupations, is pretty darn safe.