From a few years Back-Dangerous Jobs in Scotland
A look at some of the countries danger Jobs
Going to work for many of us is a procedure we do day to day, year to year with the thought of being injured or killed never crossing our minds throughout our working lives. The most dangerous thing may be for us, is crossing the road, spending to much time in front of a computer screen or even damage to our liver after a drinking session in the pub on a Friday night after work (but not as much these days) as the gym is the place to be for many .But here in the UK in the 21st Century there are professions where unfortunately the probability of death and serious injury at work are a very strong likelihood. Not wanting to be a doom monger here but the stats below are there to be seen to illustrate that dangerous jobs in Scotland, are for some a fact of life.
Deep Sea Trawlerman
The fishing industry in the UK has been in decline for many decades due to various factors such as EU quotas and over fishing the number of ‘deep sea ‘vessels, those that fish for white fish, scallops and prawns. Vessel numbers have fell from 1109 in 1997 to around 697 trawlers in 2007 and employment in the industry has fell from 8194 in 1997 to 5424 jobs 2007.(1)
But whilst the industry has come under outside pressures, it remains a way of life and pivotal for many communities especially in the North of Scotland and attracts many to the decks to earn wages, which may fluctuate but that are attractive enough to entice new blood onto the decks. The historic and present dangers though in trawling are plain to see.
Deaths at sea in the UK in the period 1959-63 increased from 466 to 1 726. Between 1958 and 1967, 208 fishermen on British trawlers lost their lives as a result of various accidents predominately by drowning.
Although health and safety measures have been steadily implemented through recent decades with better designed boats and on board layout augmented by a safety first mentality, the unavoidable long hours at sea which cause fatigue for the trawler men, poor weather and off course the danger of drowning though ,are ever present.
The most recent figures show that a total of 117 deaths were identified for seafarers in the UK fleet in the years from 1996 to 2005 (2).
So some progress has undoubtedly been made in keeping our fishermen as safe as possible whilst at sea but there is no doubt at all that a career on fishing trawler is a tough dangerous profession and a point perhaps which we should all keep in mind next time we eat the fish on our plate.
Salary range: £300-£1000 per week
Agriculture and Farming
Another Scottish traditional industry, agriculture has also seen a decline in recent years. It currently employs around 1.5-2% of the total workforce, roughly 65,000 working in farming and associated industries (3).
The chilling fact though is that although its employment numbers are fairly tiny the sector is responsible for between 15% and 20% of fatalities of all workers from all industries each year. In the UK as a whole between 1999/2000 to 2008/09 a total of 436 people were killed as a result of agricultural work activities and many more have been injured or suffered ill health.
So quite simply there must be something endemic within this industry to have such grizzly statistics.
According to a health and safety report (3) carried out in 2010 suggested that there are various engrained and behavioural historical reasons for this. Some of the these were environmental factors including working during dark mornings and nights and weather pressures and the unpredictability and the dangers of livestock .The quality of training for personnel, especially middle aged employees may not be of a high standard and who may place themselves in hazardous situations, take risks and don’t wear safety gear .Poor management of the farm environment itself as many farms are
Old, outdated and family run interests believing that red tape is a burden to its operation.
So these are just some thoughts mooted as reasons for agriculture being a precarious profession for its employees but individual and behavioural culture is evidently a pivotal need for it to become safer.
Salary range: £15,000-£30,000
Working off shore on Oil Rigs
Working on an oil rig in the North Sea ,30 miles offshore , floating or secured above 500 metres of deep sea ,drilling down 15,000 ft into the earths core really says it all on the potential dangers to all those who work on them. The numbers employed offshore in the North sea is approximately 19,000 in 2000 down from a high of 36,000 in 1990.Each rig has around 100 people working aboard in various roles. Vigilance is central for the rig worker with hard hats and footwear and safety harnesses being essential as cranes and winches move constantly overhead .The hazards of gas and oil leaks also add to the dangers.
Fatalities and injuries offshore have thankfully gone down in recent years. The combined fatal and injury rate fell to 131 per 100,000 workers in 2011/12 from 152 in 2010/11 – the second lowest rate over the last 10 years. (5)
Though, when thinking of the UK Oil and Gas industry the name Piper Alpha, an ill fated North sea oil production platform, will always leave an indelible mark as the most tragic event in Britain’s petroleum industry ,as 168 lives were lost after an explosion on the said oil platform in the North Sea .
The aftermath led to the Cullen report ,which lasted 168 days which came up with over 100 recommendations to North sea off shore safety procedures which included the responsibility of enforcing safety jurisdiction to be removed from the department of energy and passed to the HSE (Health and safety executive).(6)
Salary range: £25,000 – £35,000
With Scotland having around 667,000 hectares of national forests (7) in Scotland work by the forestry commission in maintaining these wooded areas is an ongoing task. The work of the woodsman or forester is a physically demanding job involving climbing and cutting with specialised tools and spending nearly all of their time working outdoors in all weather and ground conditions. Some work is hazardous, for example using power tools and heavy machinery whilst climbing and you may need to wear protective clothing for certain tasks to maximise the safety of the jobs. Despite the acticivities being safer now than twenty years ago, working in the forestry industry in Great Britain is still regarded as one of the most dangerous professions to work in .From 1996 to 2006 according to the health and safety executive an average of six people a year in the sector were killed at work in. Estimates also show within that same period nearly 7000 people were injured, many seriously. In fact the odds of someone in forestry industry being killed or seriously injured in any one year are now around 1 in 120.(8)
Salary range: £12,000-£30,000
Off course there are other jobs which can be bracketed in the dangerous jobs category which we have not included.You may know someone who works in an industry or profession you think should have been included please get in touch and we will add your responses.
1/Scottish Government and DEFRA
2/ ncbi.nlm.nih.gov-maritme report
5/hse.gov.uk –offshore injuries at work
8/hse.gov.uk-forestry injuries at work