It seems chopping of wood for a living claimed more lives in the U.S. compared to any other profession, as loggers ranked as the riskiest occupation for 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Based on the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries report, there were 135.9 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers in the business. A total of 91 workers died on the job in the said year.
Fishermen and fishing-related workers ranked next to loggers with 86 fatal injuries. However, a total of deaths only represented the second lowest figure. Fatalities among iron and steel workers posted the smallest number of 16 deaths in the previous year. Truck and sales drivers, which ranked them as seventh riskiest, tallied the most number of deaths at 918.
BLS said that road accidents primarily caused the high fatality rate. Transportation-related accidents accounted for 40% of total workplace fatalities. Some accidents are inevitable, but most can be prevented especially with the availability of different resources, such as labels for personal protective equipment (PPE), signs and meanings.
While the use of safety equipment and resources are important, there is a more urgent need for employers to foster a secure workplace. BLS said in a separate report that fatalities increased in 2016 for the third year in a row with 5,190 incidents, up 7% year over year.
This meant that around 14 workers died each day, which marked “the highest number since 2008 and the highest rate since 2010,” according to Peg Seminario, AFL-CIO director of occupational safety and health. The fatal injury rate rose to 3.6 per 100,000 full-time workers last year from 3.4 in 2015.
Employers of workers in the logging sector may need to make the most significant reforms on workplace safety, yet other industries should also consider similar changes to their own policies.