The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps data on fatal occupational injuries on an annual basis. Information on non-fatal yet serious injuries is also maintained. Loggers, construction workers, taxi drivers, police officers and iron workers are at high risk for serious if not fatal injury when compared to the average American worker.
Not uncommonly such injury events involve claims for both physical and mental injury. An agricultural worker losing a limb will understandably have some psychological problems. An iron worker impaled by rebar may experience a fear of heights when later returning to a jobsite. A trash collector witnessing a co-worker run over by a garbage truck may well experience high anxiety when working around heavy machinery. The psychological injuries related to serious physical injuries and work-related deaths are real.
In retrospect I now realize that a number of the jobs that I had as a young man were quite risky. In Chicago I witnessed a more experienced dock worker crushed between two trucks. I later worked in research laboratories with chemicals so toxic that if you smelled them you would die. My shortest career path was as a roofer which lasted one day. That work in Florida was hot, heavy and fraught with hazard. In each of these job positions some years ago I earned the princely sum of less than $5.00 per hour.
Exposure to falls, hazardous substances, dangerous machinery and transportation incidents account for many work-related fatalities. Let us not be surprised that there are psychological consequences to those events. For more information go to www.bls.gov/iif/.
Let us all be grateful when someone else is able and willing to take on dangerous work. When considering the most odious aspects of our own work, think about what cops, cab drivers and power line workers deal with on a daily basis.