Most Dangerous Jobs
Thom Beers knows what the audience wants: deadly jobs. Well, he knows people want to watch deadly jobs on television, at least. After producing 13 shows on 8 networks—including the popular “Deadliest Catch” and “Ice Road Truckers”— Beers has created a television niche, alongside shows such as “Dirty Jobs”, featuring people working tough, dangerous jobs.
What is the fascination with watching fishermen hoist crab-filled, 900-lb pots onto a slippery deck? With keeping the company of truckers who traverse hundred-mile roads made out of ice? More than likely we enjoy watching these men and women complete difficult tasks, under intense pressure, while walking the line between extreme danger and big financial rewards. We want them to catch a lot of crab. We want them to get home safely. Below is a chronicle of deadly jobs — like many of the jobs in Beer’s television shows—and a list of the lifesaving precautions these workers take to make sure they do get home without injury.
This dangerous category includes the spotlight careers of the crab fishermen in the Bering Sea, but it also includes the many other men and women who fish for lobster in the Atlantic, who fish for salmon around Alaska—all people working in fishing boats. The ocean water is dangerously cold, and the human body will quickly suffer from hypothermia within minutes of entering the water. So boats are equipped with survival suits, which prevent hypothermia, keep sailors afloat and send out distress signals with emergency radio locators.
Structural Iron and Steel Workers & Roofers
Working to construct and stabilize the buildings where we work and the houses where we live, structural workers and roofers are exposed to outstanding heights on a daily basis, which increases the danger of their job. Roofing actually ranks as the fifth most dangerous job in America, followed by structural workers at number six. They use fall protection harnesses and nets to prevent injuries from occurring at dangerous heights, and they are trained at fall prevention programs before spending any time on the job.
Battling hazardous road and weather conditions, facing long hours at the wheel and infrequent breaks, truck drivers have a tough job. But the trucking industry has witnessed more and more technological improvements that make the job safer. Recent GPS units installed in truck cabs keep drivers away from bad weather conditions and identify what roads are appropriate for trucks—primarily roads without low-clearance risks. Truck drivers also adhere to strict schedule guidelines so that they are able to rest more often and keep alert while at the wheel.
Working with heavy machinery and large, dangerous logs, loggers employ a variety of emergency preparedness equipment to ensure they are ready when hazards strike. If you’ve been near a Douglas fir when it crashes to the forest floor, you know that it kicks up debris and can send wood shrapnel hurling through the air at terrifying speeds. Logging companies spend a lot of time training their employees to eliminate risks on the job, to make sure trees can be harvested without injury to the loggers.
We like to watch television shows that showcase these jobs because they are testaments to human perseverance—to the American work ethic. These workers face dangerous conditions in order to complete the task at hand. And they’re serious about staying safe while doing so. Next time you find yourself watching one of these blue-collared television shows, keep in mind the amount of energy dedicated to keeping the workers safe.