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BLS census sheds light on dangerous jobs, work-related injuries

A recent report issued by the national Bureau of Labor Statistics both confirms assumptions likely held by millions of Ohioans and other Americans and provides for a bit of a surprise, as well.

The bureau's National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reveals that, unsurprisingly, construction accidents account for a high rate of fatal on-the-job injuries across the country. The industry is rife with safety-related concerns, with comparatively dangerous jobs involving workers engaged in roofing, iron and steel fabrication and electrical work, and those who routinely work with heavy machinery.

Notably, firefighting -- an endeavor often linked with extreme hazards and accidents -- does not rank high on the bureau's list of most-dangerous jobs. In fact, the BLS views that activity as being relatively safe.

A few industries typically top most "extreme danger" lists, and the BLS compilation centrally includes those perennial candidates. They include logging activities at the very top of the list, followed by fishing and the aeronautics industry (with pilots being especially exposed to job-related dangers). Rounding out the BLS fatal-injury list are, as noted above, a wide-ranging number of construction-related activities.

The rate of on-the-job fatalities has remained fairly constant in recent years. Preliminary numbers released by the BLS denote that 4,383 workers died from on-the-job injuries last year. That number was 4,693 in 2011.

More than four of every 10 work-related deaths last year resulted from transportation accidents. Workplace violence was cited as the second-leading cause of employee fatalities, with more than 460 homicides reported in 2012.

Gender is prominently noted in the census, with the BLS indicating that more than nine in 10 workplace facilities involve male employees.

Source: Forbes, "The 5 deadliest jobs in America: Forbes," Jacquelyn Smith, Aug. 23, 2013