Let's face it, when you are at the office, the biggest risk you face is to run out of coffee. Meet ten dangerous jobs that will make you realize how lucky you are.
Skyscraper Windows Cleaners
You need nerves of steel to be a window cleaner in Dubai. When this worker spotted a mark on an apartment window, he just had to pop out to give the glass a quick wipe with a squeegee. Nothing odd about that – except that the apartment was located 400ft up on the 34th floor of a tower block in Jumeirah Beach, Dubai. He stepped out on to the narrow ledge and, holding the frame, stretched across to wipe away the annoying smudge. As he takes his life into his hands, at least he has the sense to hold on to the window frame, even if it is by his fingertips, as he goes about his task. He was snapped making sure the windows were sparkling by a resident in a neighbouring apartment block. He didn't have a safety harnesses or cradles and helmets. He had nothing. When it comes to safety among its massive immigrant workforce, the Dubai authorities have a dubious record. Conditions in which immigrants are expected to work have been a subject of discussion in the United Arab Emirates for many years. Yet the majority of these employees have no voice, especially when it comes to their own safety. They are also aware that, if they are deported, there are thousands of others willing to take their place. Talk about dangerous jobs!
The first time you see these guys over the power lines you may think it's fake. But linemen who work from helicopters are for real and they are considered a highly specialized area of line work; few linemen have the special training to perform it. Incredible as it seems, live high voltage transmission lines can be worked barehanded. The lineman must be isolated from the ground by using an insulated bucket truck or other method. The lineman wears special conductive clothing which is connected to the live power line, at which point the line and the lineman are at the same potential, allowing the lineman to handle the wire safely. Live wire work is extremely common on low voltage distribution systems within the UK as all linesmen are trained to work 'live'. Live wire work on high voltage distribution systems within the UK is carried out by specialist teams. These teams are sometimes referred to as 'Hot Glove' teams.
The daily grind at the office may not seem so bad after viewing these startling images. For, no matter how grumpy your boss may be this morning, at least you aren't actually risking life and limb by sticking your head in his jaws. But that is exactly what the crocodile wrestlers at a Thai zoo do on a daily basis. The men at the Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo perform what may well be the world's most dangerous job. The wranglers have been performing the stunts at the zoo on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, since it was set up in 1985. During the hour-long shows they stick their head between the jaws of some of the zoo's biggest crocs, in the style of Krai Thong, a legendary Thai crocodile hunter.
Newlyweds from Montana, celebrating in Las Vegas were checking out the lion enclosure at the MGM Grand Hotel when they videotaped these images. The man was videotaping the male and female lions and their two trainers when all of a sudden the male took exception at something that was going on and made a lunge. A struggle ensued and a female also decided to join the fray but the trainer managed to break free with the help of his colleague and made a hasty escape from the enclosure with the male still appearing extremely agitated. There is no evidence of any blood being spilled, but the trainer is evidently in great pain during the attack. Soundproof glass muffled any noise, however. Jack Hanna appeared on GMA and he said the attack would be considered mild. The trainer was lucky it was the male getting over-excited as females launch much more devastating attacks.
Gilberto Angulos does not need to say a word to tell the tale of working 30 years in Chile's mines. His broken body does all the talking for him. A jagged scar runs down his forehead. A metal plate keeps his fractured left forearm together. A bone never properly set juts from his left shoulder. The injuries are the remnants of a mine explosion that nearly killed him. In 2003, Angulos was driving excavation equipment in a large copper mine when he felt a rush of air. Instead of being killed, Angulos was taken 1,300 miles (2,092 km) south to Santiago, where he spent a year in the hospital. The damage to the miner was permanent. Now the San Jose mine collapse and got trapped 33 men in Chile. The owner and operator of that mine, the San Esteban Mining Co., did not complete promised improvements to the mine where the men were trapped for 70 days, 2,300 feet (701 meters) underground. Many of the 33 trapped miners and their peers had had numerous brushes with death in the depths of a mine. Mario Gomez had two fingers sliced off by falling rocks. Victor Segovia spent a year recovering after a rock slammed into his back. Franklin Lobos was trapped for three hours during a previous cave-in. Hector Avila worked 20 years in the mines and became close friends with several of the recently-trapped miners when he worked with them at the San Jose mine. A geologist was killed in the same 2007 accident, prompting the closure of the San Jose mine. But the mine was reopened soon after.
Since 2000, 374 miners have died practicing their trade in Chile, according to government statistics. That seems like a fun job, doesn't it?
Target girl is a term sometimes used in circus and vaudeville to denote a female assistant in "impalement" acts such as knife throwing, archery or sharpshooting. The assistant stands in front of a target board or is strapped to a moving board and the impalement artist throws knives or shoots projectiles so as to hit the board but miss the assistant. The presence of an assistant as a human target provides a powerful element of risk. Without assistants placing themselves in danger these acts would be simple demonstrations of accuracy, but with the potential for injury or death the show is much more dramatic. Where can I apply?
Logging takes an annual toll like few other occupations. The biggest hazard, according to Roger Smith of RL Logging in Olympia, Wash., comes from logging mountain slopes. "You're working steep terrain with 70-degree, 80-degree grades with rocks and sliding logs," he says. About half the time, he's taking down 60- to 70-year-old trees with trunk diameters of 30 inches or more. If not felled correctly, these can go crashing down slopes, rolling over anyone in their paths. The old forest canopies often have those snags, which are big dead branches that break off and can fall erratically when the tree comes down. Loggers call them "widow makers." Even after the trees are cut, the job of loading them can be tough. "Somebody just got killed here recently," he says. "He was running a harvester and one of the teeth of the chain broke off and went right through the bulletproof glass window of his cab."
129 deaths per 100,000 people employed in the industry and 61 injuries per 100,000 for 2008, makes working in the Fishing Industry the number one most dangerous job in the world. A Cable TV show, Deadliest Catch, on the Discovery Network, shows real crab fishers in the Bering Sea. They make a living working many hours a day, 7 days a week, often in the dark, without a break for long stretches of time. They must perform the catch within the window of opportunity, or lose their income for the year. Freezing water and icy boat decks can lead to horrific accidents, and storms can swamp small fishing vessels, sometimes claiming entire crews.
Demining or mine clearance is the process of removing either land mines, or naval mines, from an area. Manual demining is still the best system currently in use because it has been proven that the current generation of mine clearance machines can only clear up to an 80 percent certainty at best, whereas manual demining can give a 99.6 percent certainty. But this work can be very dangerous. Demining resulted in at least 500 deaths from 1996 to 2002.
These are the people you see hoisting those giant steel beams to create the structural framework of office buildings and other large projects. The United Steelworkers union claims that deaths among structural construction workers are increasing as owners and managers try to cut costs. The most common cause of death among them, according to the BLS, is falling.