Hazardous Workplaces: The 7 Most Dangerous Occupations in Illinois

Most people in Illinois and all over the United States go to work without the fear of being injured, but that’s not the reality for everyone. All workplaces pose some kind of hazard, but these are the seven most dangerous occupations in Illinois.

#1: Construction Workers

It goes without saying that construction work is some of the most dangerous work in Illinois, and all over the United States. Not only are construction workers at risk of the most common workplace injuries (slips, trips, and falls), but their greatest risk is falling from a height. Construction workers are usually constructing considerably tall buildings, so falling from a height is always a risk, and can be deadly. There’s also a risk of objects falling from a height and striking a worker on the head.

#2: First Responders

Police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) also have some of the most dangerous jobs in Illinois and all over the U.S., as their job is to run toward dangerous situations. Police officers’ injuries are likely to come from acts of violence, whereas firefighters are likely to get burned in a fire— both of which can also result in the death of either first responder. Police officers, firefighters, and EMTs are all at risk of being injured or killed in traffic accidents as well.

#3: Garbage Collectors

Garbage and recyclable material collectors in Illinois are also working dangerous jobs, which may come as a surprise to some. One of their biggest threats to safety is actually collecting this material because of other drivers on the road. Drivers are supposed to stop or at least use extra caution when they see garbage collectors, but unfortunately, many are hit and seriously injured or killed by cars. They also work with heavy machinery, so there’s a risk of being injured or killed by these machines.

#4: Iron and Steel Workers

Iron and steel workers typically work alongside construction workers, so falling from a height is a huge risk for them as well. But iron and steel workers also have a unique set of work hazards, as they’re not always working on construction sites. Other work hazards they’re exposed to include:

  • Soft tissue injuries (from moving heavy loads)
  • Impalement
  • Electrocution
  • Broken bones, fractures, and crush injuries
  • Amputation

Unfortunately, fatalities are also common in this industry. Safety equipment and training are both provided to iron and steel workers, however, it’s still a dangerous job.

#5: Loggers, Hunters, and Fishers

Loggers, hunters, and fishers also have pretty dangerous jobs, even though they spend the majority of their time outdoors. For example, loggers face the risk of being crushed by fallen trees while commercial fishers are faced with the risk of drowning. Hunters come face to face with wildlife, and all three occupations require work in extreme weather conditions and work with heavy machinery.

#6: Manufacturing and Warehouse Workers

Manufacturing workers work in factories and are exposed to several hazards every day. They’re lifting heavy objects (strains and soft tissue injuries), working with heavy machinery (crush injuries, impalement, etc.), and even coming into contact with toxic chemicals. Warehouse workers are also at risk for injuries related to lifting heavy objects and working with heavy machinery.

#7: Truck Drivers

Driving big rigs is one of the most popular occupations in the transportation industry, and this industry isn’t free of workplace hazards. The majority of these hazards are related to driving in traffic since the workplace of truck drivers is on the road. Truck drivers drive long distances for hours at a time, and they’re at risk of driver fatigue. Driver fatigue is one of the main causes of traffic accidents in Illinois, as tired drivers have a slower reaction time.

The majority of these workers also file the most workers’ compensation claims out of any other profession in Illinois and all over the U.S. because their risk of being injured on the job as a result of the negligence of others is extremely high. Almost all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for this reason, but not all employers are willing to pay the full benefits their employees are entitled to. This is where consulting with a workers’ compensation lawyer could be helpful.

As mentioned earlier, all jobs pose some sort of hazard, whether it’s getting a paper cut or slipping and falling on a wet or icy surface. However, the risk of being injured in other industries is considerably lower than the ones listed above.