Today, many TV shows and movies will have you believe that office jobs are commonplace, boring, and unsatisfying. However, many people risk their lives on a daily basis just to earn their paycheck, making office work seem a bit more attractive as a profession. There are many jobs where employees aren’t guaranteed safety, and some workers have to deal with the risk of violence or generally dangerous working conditions.
Most of the time, industries with the highest death rates in general also have the highest rates of wrongful death. Here are some industries with the highest mortality rates in Yakima, Washington. This information is provided to assist you in deciding whether to file a wrongful death claim.
Police officers have very risky jobs. They deal with unpredictable situations and violent people on a day-to-day basis. Unsurprisingly, this job has a pretty high wrongful death rate, with about 15 officers out of every 100,000 dying on the job and roughly 163 deaths total per year. The mortality rate may not be as high as in some other professions, but our police and sheriff officers still risk severe injury and death every day they are on the job.
Logging is commonly considered to have the highest wrongful death rates each year. This industry averages over 100 wrongful deaths and accidents for every 100,000 workers. Most loggers do not work in areas with easy access to hospitals or medical professionals, so any serious injuries acquired on the job cannot be treated immediately. Wrongful death most often occurs in this industry due to machinery malfunction or the unpredictable movement of logs or other heavy objects. Oftentimes, loggers are not given proper safety equipment or training, drastically increasing the risk of death or serious injury.
Workers within the Fishing Industry
Fishermen are often exposed to harsh weather conditions and extreme environmental factors. Fishing can be an incredibly dangerous job, and fishermen must be given the proper equipment to shield them from the elements, as well as training on what to do in certain circumstances. Oftentimes, those who make a living catching fish aren’t properly informed of all of the risks, or they don’t receive proper safety equipment. This makes fishing one of the most deadly professions in Washington, with some of the highest wrongful death rates seen in any industry.
Careers in construction are incredibly complex, with exposure to many moving parts and fast-changing situations. Many construction-related deaths are caused by machinery malfunction or misuse, such as when a construction worker is killed due to another worker’s lack of attention while operating dangerous machinery. Additionally, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) estimates that approximately 65% of construction workers work on scaffolds. Scaffolding is often not erected properly, and when this occurs the worker using the scaffolding is subject to it collapsing underneath them. Machines may not be replaced or repaired often enough, causing malfunctions that can be deadly.
Pilots and Flight Engineers
While plane crashes aren’t that common, other common incidents can lead to death within the aviation industry. Pilots can be killed working in the warehousing industry and planes can be misdirected due to a mistake by air traffic control. Pilot training also has many fatalities each year, including misinformation and mistakes during flight training and machine malfunctions. In 2017 alone, there were 59 fatal injuries among pilots and flight engineers. Something unusual about the mortality rate of pilots in the workforce is that any injury that happens in the workplace is almost always fatal due to the extreme nature of aviation.
Workers in the Transportation and Warehouse Industry
Workplace accidents among transportation and warehouse workers are incredibly common, and few measures have been taken to reduce the number of deaths in recent years. Many trucking companies have taken to putting unprofessional and untrained drivers behind the wheel solely to fill as many positions as possible, resulting in needless crashes that could have been easily avoided with a little more training. When it comes to the warehouse industry, workers are often expected to work with chemicals or heat while at extreme heights. On top of that, many are not given proper training or safety equipment. The environment of the warehouse industry is so extreme that almost a third of slip trips or falls resulted in a serious injury that needed immediate medical attention.
Ironworkers and Steelworkers
While employers of the iron and steel industries should be responsible for scouting for potential hazards, many skip this important step. Fall protection equipment is often not provided or not required, and since workers are often exposed to extreme heights, a fall can be incredibly dangerous. Similarly, steel beams may be left unsecured by workers or employers and can crush others. Exposure to toxic and extreme chemicals is not uncommon for those who work in the iron and steel industry, yet employers may not properly warn workers where toxic chemicals are present or provide sufficient protection against the fumes. Until employers raise their standards for the protection of their workers, this industry will continue to have one of the highest wrongful death rates in Washington.
Highway Maintenance Workers
Highway maintenance workers are rarely included among the most fatal occupations, but they have about 123 deaths per year. That’s not far behind police officers and others in law enforcement. Many deaths in this industry happen when a maintenance worker is hit by a heavy equipment driver who wasn’t fully paying attention. The most common instance of wrongful death in this occupation, however, is when a distracted motorist veers off the road and hits a maintenance worker. Most of the work areas are clearly marked with a multitude of signs, so a motorist who severely injures or kills a highway maintenance worker usually did so out of negligence.
While landscaping may seem like a simple and easy job, in reality, it requires hard laboring out in the elements. It doesn’t just consist of planting flowers and plants to enhance a space; landscape workers also work with complex machinery and are occasionally in charge of digging deep trenches, holes, and pits. When landscape workers are given old, heavily-used equipment, they are at an increased risk for mechanical malfunctions that often lead to serious injury or death. Supervisors and employers in the landscape industry may fail to provide the proper safety equipment for workers who dig and work in trenches. This brings an increased risk of cave-ins. While a soil cave-in may seem minor, it’s important to keep in mind that a cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car, making it almost impossible for one person to escape.
Across all industries, most wrongful deaths in the workplace are a result of either employer not wanting to spend time and money administering safety measures, or employees becoming distracted or careless. Residents of Yakima, Washington, who are weighing whether to file a wrongful death claim should reach out to a team of skilled legal professionals for additional guidance.