10 Jobs Where You’re Lucky to End the Day Alive

by Staff Writer

While many of us may work a desk job and are not subject to any occupational hazards, there are quite a few noble people in the world who pursue dangerous professions that put their lives at stake on a regular basis. Some are eligible for worker's compensation benefits, given that they may need relief for any medical work required for injuries sustained on the job. Likewise, worker's compensation can help with what would otherwise amount to a lack of income on days or weeks needed to recuperate. These jobs are often for the good of the people. Some professions are outwardly heroic, while others are generally overlooked by the public. A police officer is often praised for his public duty, while the window cleaner at a high-rise is hardly even noticed. Regardless, the following jobs all involve a great amount of risk.

  1. Exotic Animal Trainer

    Lion "tamers," trainers who work with elephants, poisonous snake handlers, or other exotic animal trainers take their lives into their own hands every day. Some work with these animals at zoos or animal sanctuaries to alleviate some of the dangers associated with feeding them, but others attempt to domesticate the animals for the sake of show business. The fact of the matter is, no wild animal can be completely tamed. While it may be reared in captivity by human hands, basic instincts are liable to kick in at any time, especially if an animal feels threatened. Trainers may understand the animal's body language and be able to gauge when it is becoming agitated, but it only takes a few seconds for a large, exotic animal to overpower a human.

  2. Construction Worker

    The construction workers who build our homes and retail spaces, including roofers, carpenters, and welders, are subject to the many hazards associated with building labor. They may work at extreme heights and risk falling to their death, or underground where the spaces can cave in. They handle power tools and explosives that could cause all kinds of accidents. Tools may fall on them, scaffolding may collapse, and respiratory issues can evolve from not taking the proper precautions around hazardous materials. Working near power lines possesses the threat of electrocution. The loud equipment could jeopardize their hearing at a crucial moment when warned of a potential danger.

  3. Miner

    The public became much more aware of the dangers of the mining industry with the Chilean Miner accident of 2010. Miners lower themselves into caverns with the potential of numerous disasters, including gas explosions, extremely poor ventilation or suffocation, and collapse of various parts of the coal mine. With poor visibility, miners may fall through false floors into recesses. If the entrance caves in, they may be trapped for an extended period of time without access to food or water. Black lung disease is no longer terribly of issue, as it has been largely eradicated, but miners breathe in plenty of toxic gases and dust nonetheless, which can be fatal.

  4. Skyscraper Window Washer

    While not every skyscraper window cleaner is assigned the daunting task of the Empire State Building, cleaning the windows on any skyscraper is enough to make one weak at the knees. Equipment once consisted only of a belt with two ends that could fasten to metal clips on the sides of the windows, but now it is a bit more advanced. Nonetheless, should the safety harnesses fail, falling from a skyscraper is falling to certain death. The windows on these buildings may have as little as half an inch lip on them with which to "stand" on. Certain weather conditions can be deadly, such as strong winds or slippery ice. Even certain birds can be a problem, should they swoop at a window cleaner and startle him too much.

  5. Cab Driver

    Aside from dealing with generally rude, shady customers who may flee without paying or become violent over high fares, cab drivers are subject to a variety of occupational risks. They could be held at gunpoint or robbed, as they are usually carrying quite a bit of cash on them. Given that they work alone and deal with all kinds of people, they may be victims of racism or other prejudices. Often, alerting the police means a cab driver will simply lose his fare, as customers often run when the threat of involving high authorities becomes an issue. Furthermore, since a taxi driver spends so much time in his car, he is more susceptible to car accidents, especially at the reckless speeds cab drivers sometimes take to get to their destination.

  6. Bomb Specialist

    It can't get much more dangerous or stressful than defusing bombs on a daily basis. With excessive training, bomb specialists must calmly approach and deactivate a bomb by clipping the precise wires without any room for error. The men who disarm bombs wear heavy armor, which can sometimes be stifling in the heat and make it difficult to do their job. Many die or lose their limbs in explosions. Afghanistan is known for having makeshift bombs without a metal component, so metal detectors will not pick up signals of them. The bomb specialist is also trained to detect high volumes of radioactivity caused by chemical bombs.

  7. Logger

    Loggers have one of the most dangerous occupations because almost every aspect of what they do presents danger. Working with enormous trees, the logger has to fall them in the correct direction to prevent any injuries to him or fellow loggers. Much of the machinery used is heavy and dangerous. Saws and other sharp machinery can harm them, and losing limbs is not uncommon. Even once the logs have been assembled on the truck for dispatching, there is still the danger that they weren't secured properly and could roll out of the bed of the vehicle or cause a blow-out from the excessive weight. Weather conditions can play a large factor in terms of the logger's safety measures.

  8. Firefighter

    It is pretty obvious as to what makes the firefighting profession so dangerous: the fire. Training is a must before the firefighter can battle the flames; he must know the proper procedures or he may not survive it. Firefighters may suffer burns if they do not have on the protective gear correctly or they prolongedly come in contact with the flames. Likewise, smoke may hamper visibility and floors can give way. Falling debris can be an issue as well. A firefighter could lose his team member and be stranded in a burning building. Lastly, inhaling smoke can be fatal if in large amounts.

  9. Fisherman

    Alaskan crab fishing, specifically, was named the most dangerous job in the world. The main concern is the brutal ocean, which can create slick, undulating surfaces on the boat, causing men to fall overboard or get caught in roping. Worse, fisherman may drown. The shifts are long and grueling, between 18 and 20 hours, and fatigue may cause fishermen to be less alert than they should be in a high-stress situation. If harmed, hospitals are not particularly accessible out in the unruly ocean. Falling into the frigid Alaskan waters can cause hypothermia. These fisherman suffer through all of this just to put fish on the table at local restaurants. The pay is also quite good.

  10. Police Officer

    Police officers deal with potentially aggressive criminals on a regular basis, putting them at risk for being attacked or shot. In persuing a criminal, they may be at risk for car accidents, especially if the chase is high-speed and among other pedestrians that must be protected. Directing traffic can put them in the hot sun for long hours and also endanger them to malicious drivers. A criminal's family members or other close relations may seek retaliation against a police officer for merely doing his job. It is also a high-stress job, which can wear the police officer down over time, causing psychological harm.

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