For years, television shows have highlighted dangerous jobs in the U.S. From lobster fishermen to iron workers, shows like Deadliest Catch and Deadliest Job Interview offer compelling and often terrifying glimpses into the daily lives of those in some of the riskiest professions. While the dangers for those men and women are clear, it can be easy to overlook some of the common but serious risks that exist for Iowa workers. Recently, the work resource website Zippia created a map detailing the most dangerous professions in every state and the most dangerous jobs overall, and the results may surprise you.
The Riskiest Careers for Iowa Workers
Compared to the rest of the nation, Iowa is a fairly safe place to work—the Zippia study ranked the state 31st most dangerous. Despite this relative safety, approximately 20,000 workers report a job-related injury every year, according to Iowa Workforce Development. Though employees are injured in a wide variety of jobs, many of the reported injuries do occur in a handful of fields, including:
- Construction. Construction is one of the most dangerous jobs nationwide, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that construction-related deaths accounted for 21 percent of all on-the-job deaths in 2015. Falls, object strikes, electrocutions, and caught-in accidents are responsible for many serious injuries, and the loud, busy nature of a work site creates an environment that can present many dangers to workers.
- Health care. Employees at hospitals and nursing homes find themselves encountering unique risks every day. Healthcare workers are often the victims of slip and fall accidents, back injuries, and violence, in addition to facing risks from chemical and drug exposure.
- Manufacturing. Manufacturing jobs encompass a wide range of product production and involve a number of significant risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) names contact with objects, musculoskeletal disorders, and occupational hearing loss as just three of the main dangers of this field, which reported more than 466,000 injuries and illnesses nationwide in 2015.
- Transportation. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death in the U.S., and workers in the transportation industry spend a significant portion of their time on the job behind the wheel. Pressure from employers to move goods quickly contributes to fatigued driving accidents, and the sedentary nature of the job can create or aggravate back problems, obesity, and more.
- Animal production and aquaculture. Fish farming has grown significantly in Iowa recently, and as more workers enter the field, the chances for injury increase. The National Center for Farmworker Health names exposure to bacteria, repetitive motion, hazardous machinery, and electrocution as some of the top job dangers.
Iowa’s Most Dangerous Job Revealed
Which job has the unfortunate distinction of being Iowa’s most dangerous, though? According to the Zippia study, the riskiest place to work in Iowa is with the U.S. Postal Service, which also ranked as the fourth most dangerous job nationwide. Why is mail delivery so hazardous? The study based its findings on the number of injury reports and the population of the state, but examining mail carrier careers more carefully reveals a wide variety of safety considerations—weather elements, transportation accidents, difficult terrain, and even aggressive pets.
Protect Yourself on the Job in Iowa
While the workers in all these fields may be especially at risk, dangers exist everywhere. Iowa employees reported injuries in even seemingly “safe” fields like retail, education, amusement, finance, and more in 2015. Workers in all fields should take care to follow basic safety precautions, including:
- Use appropriate safety equipment – From seat belts to hard hats, employers provide safety equipment for a reason. Workers should make use of safety equipment to avoid unnecessary injuries.
- Don’t rush – Take all the time you need to complete your work tasks, so avoidable mistakes are not made.
- Fully educate yourself about the field – Knowing the risks are there and where to expect them can help workers anticipate what is to come.
Whether you work in one of the riskier fields or not, job-related accidents and injuries happen every day. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. At Pothitakis Law Firm, our experienced Iowa attorneys have helped many injured workers and their families obtain the care and compensation they deserved. Call our office nearest you to speak with a member of our team, and find out how we may be able to help.