There are risks involved in most jobs, whether you work in emergency response or your role is office-based. However, there are some industries that experience higher levels of risk and need to understand how to reduce perilous activity, it is essential to know what the risks involved in each job could be.
Here we can reveal some of the most dangerous industries, and some suggestions on how you can mitigate against the most potential common risks.
As one of the oldest and most traditional industries in the world, farming and agricultural environments by the very nature of the tasks undertaken on-site can be very dangerous, however health and safety procedures in farming can feel primitive. This leads to a considerable number of accidents occurring on farms all throughout the UK.
Farming is the most dangerous type of job in the sector, accounting for the most injuries within agriculture, fishing and forestry, ROSPA Workplace Safety revealed.
One in every five workplace fatalities are within this division, and nearly half of tragic incidents involve farmers, demonstrating just how risky working in rural Britain can be.
How to reduce danger in farming
So if you are a farmer, how can you reduce your chances and migrate against being involved in an accident?
Firstly, you need to ascertain what the most common hazards are. These include dangers posed by working with animals, including bites, kicks and trampling, as well as pests and diseases.
According to Better Health, injuries are also caused from the chemicals used on farms such as pesticides; confined spaces like tanks and silos; faulty electrical appliances; working from height and with machinery; and adverse weather conditions.
While some of these could be preventable, there are ways to ensure farms are safer to work on, such as:
- Staying current with training on how to use machinery and equipment safely and implement first aid techniques, and how to manage livestock safely.
- Produce risk assessments, undertake regular health and safety inspections to spot any hazards, and actions to fix them
- Always using appropriate PPE such as safety gear, including goggles, helmets and seatbelts to reduce injuries
- Keeping dangerous items locked away and storing the keys away from others, especially children.
- Keeping equipment in good working condition and getting it serviced on a frequent basis
The second most dangerous industry is essential to the growth of our economy – construction. According to the HSE’s health and safety statistics for the construction sector in Great Britain, 80,000 workers in the industry suffer from work-related ill health every year, including 64,000 non-fatal injuries. The majority of these are musculoskeletal disorders, accounting for 65 per cent of all illness and injuries in the sector.
What’s more, HSE’s Workplace Fatal Injuries In Great Britain 2018 report, released in May this year, revealed there were more workers losing their lives working in construction than any other sector.
Out of 144 workers killed in 2017/18, 38 were those employed in the construction industry, accounting for 26.3 per cent of all workplace deaths. This remains in line with the annual average figure for the last five years (2013/14 to 2017/18), showing that construction continues to be one of the most dangerous working environments.
Although the number of tragic incidents occurring within the construction sector are generally higher than in other sectors, the rate of fatal injuries is considerably higher in agriculture as there are significantly more people working in the former.
Indeed, the report revealed the rate of fatal injuries in construction is 1.64 per 100,000 workers for 2017/18, while this figure increased to 8.44 per 100,000 workers in agriculture.
How to reduce danger in construction
One of the main reasons for construction being so dangerous is the normal duties tend to involve work at height, working with dangerous machinery as well as the hazard of preventing falling objects. In fact, 35 fatal injuries in 2017/18 across all sectors were caused by falls from height.
Therefore, one of the best ways to reduce the risk of staff members injuring themselves is to enrol them on a work at height competent worker course or alternatively if you work or are undertaking contract work within the renewables and offshore wind sectors the GWO working at heights course is the training you require. This helps to build confidence when undertaking work at height, how to use the correct equipment and how best to prevent a fall.
Some workers may also be first aid trained, allowing them the skills to deliver interim care until the arrival of the emergency services.
The HSE also advises use of adequate safety equipment, such as guard rails, properly functioning scaffolding and secure platforms.
Construction firms should also ensure their vehicles and machinery are safe to use; everyone who operates them has adequate training to know how to do so; they are well-maintained and warning lights are regularly checked; and to make sure barriers are in place to stop machines being used in prohibited areas.
26 out of 144 of all tragic workplace incidents in 2017/18 resulted from being hit by a vehicle, making transportation safety a priority and could significantly reduce incidences.
It is not just transport on construction and manufacturing sites that pose a risk to workers, but those who use road too. Indeed, those working on waste removal trucks are in one of the perilous jobs and operate in high risk.
While the waste industry saw a rather low number of tragic incidents last year, at just 12 compared with construction’s 38, its rate of fatal injuries was the highest. In fact, the HSE revealed there were 10.26 deaths per 100,000 workers in the waste and recycling sector between 2017 and 2018.
Potential risk for workers employed within the waste sector can vary from vehicle collisions, slips and falls, whilst hopping on and off the trucks and they are also exposed to dangerous bacteria from the waste; and work closely with potential dangerous machinery.
Active HSE revealed that there were 8,000 reports of illnesses among waste and recycling employees between 2009 and 2015, resulting in a sick rate of four per cent. Therefore, staff in this industry are more likely to pick up an illness or harm themselves, as well as suffer from a fatal injury.
While there are many risks involved in waste removal, it still attracts a large number of applications of interest.
How to reduce danger in waste and recycling
The dangers involved in waste removal are not limited to rubbish collection from people’s houses and businesses. Workers also have to operate lifting mechanisms, crushing waste, unloading at tips and work carefully at the recycling department due to on-site vehicle movements.
Drivers are required to have a large goods vehicle (LGV) licence, for which they are trained how to manoeuvre such large motors as safely as possible.
To reduce the chance of injury, it is worth getting staff to refresh their LGV training as often as possible.
Staff also need to be provided with adequate clothing, which includes jackets and trousers made from high visibility reflective material as well as PPE such as gloves, hard hats and safety glasses if necessary.
Often waste collectors have to work early in the morning and in the winter, when visibility can be poor. Therefore, it is essential they can be clearly seen by other road users.
This enables pedestrians, cyclists and other cars to see employees as visibly as possible, so they can manoeuvre around them safely.
The uniform also needs to be warm and protective. When working in all weathers and for several hours outside daily, staff can feel the impact of adverse weather conditions. Therefore, they need adequate clothing protection to be able to withstand the cold, wind and rain to ensure waste collection continues no matter what the weather is.
Clothing also needs to be protective against the hazards waste collectors face every day. For instance, good-quality gloves will protect them from sharp objects and getting cross-contamination with any dangerous bacteria.
It can also prove to be a physically demanding job, so staff need to be kept fit and healthy, so they can reduce the chance of injury or illness.
As already highlighted above there are several factors that could result in workers from these industries suffering illness and injuries.
Like most dangerous industries, if you look after your staff by providing adequate training, seeking their feedback on daily operations, understanding their needs and concerns, and making sure they are not feeling too pressurised or unable to do their jobs safely, they are more likely to understand the importance of safety around the workplace as well as reducing the likelihood of a serious incident.
Here at HFR Solutions CIC, we are dedicated to making your business a safe place to work. We offer a range of workplace safety courses, including emergency preparedness, work from height and confined space training, to ensure staff are as knowledgeable as possible. We also conduct risk assessments and gap analysis to determine any gaps in health and safety that you can rectify and make your workplace and employees as safe as possible.