The American Council on Science and Health recently published an article looking at on-site fatality and suicide rates within different industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that some of the most dangerous jobs in the United States are those in the construction and extraction industries, occurring at a rate of 12.1 per 100,000 people.
This data referred only to on-site work accidents that resulted in the death of an employee. This data did not cover on-site injuries that were not fatal. It also did not cover any statistics within the military, with voluntary workers or anyone working under the age of sixteen.
The CDC released data regarding suicide rates among the different industries. The two statistics were gathered independently yet the results were strikingly similar. Those working in the farming, fishing and forestry industries also had the highest rate of suicide deaths among the different industries studied, with nearly 85 deaths per 100,000 employees. Next came the construction and extraction industries, followed by the installation, maintenance and repair industries. While there are often many factors that might bring a person to death by suicide, there is nevertheless a correspondence between these two groups of data.
It is important that all employers, especially those working in more dangerous industries, do everything they can to ensure that they have a safe work environment.
Preventing On-Site Fatalities
- Hold regular meetings emphasizing the importance of safety in the workplace. Ensure that all employees adhere to the safety measures in place.
- Train. All employees must be properly trained to use all of the equipment correctly. Misuse of equipment can lead to a serious on-site accident or fatality.
- Make sure that all equipment and gear is functioning correctly. Broken equipment greatly increases the risk of an on-site accident or fatality.
- The more fatigued an employee is, the greater the risk of an on-site accident. Make sure that all employees take regular breaks and are not working if they are exhausted.
- Educate. Train employees to recognize signs of depression and suicide. Provide resources for any who might be suicidal to get the help they need.
- When a friend or coworker is talking, listen to them. You don't need to have the answers. Just be there. Be sympathetic. Show that you support them. Isolation and depression can sometimes lead a person to thoughts of suicide.
- Always take threats of self-harm or suicide seriously. Even if they say they're "just kidding" or they "don't mean it," assume that they are not kidding. Take them at their word and encourage them to get help.
- Get help. If you are worried that a friend, family member or coworker might be suicidal, don't handle it alone. Seek additional help from a mutual friend, a doctor, or someone in that person's life whom they trust. You can also call 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-272-TALK. Other resources include the Lifeline Crisis Chat Line and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.