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From dog bites to pig iron, danger is all around us

From dog bites to pig iron, danger is all around us
By Dick Yarbrough
From dog bites to pig iron, danger is all around us
By Dick Yarbrough

Do you know what the most dangerous job is in these, the United States? No, it is not writing columns, although when you have been referred to as a “racist redneck” and an “Obama-bedwetting liberal” in the same week, not to mention a “spiritual moron” by a God-fearing, love-thyneighbor Baptist, this is not exactly a job for the faint of heart. The humorimpaired can be a formidable bunch, and they seem to be growing in numbers. But I bravely carry on. (Pause for applause.)

According to research at, a personal injury law firm in Columbus, Ohio, the most dangerous job around is Veterinary Services. Unlike the humor-impaired, animals can be very unpredictable. They say veterinary jobs receive the most injuries in a 40-hour week with 13.8 injuries for every 100,000 workers. Dogs can bite you. Cats can claw you and birds can peck on you, not to mention someone who brings a cranky boa constrictor in for its annual checkup.

The second most dangerous job? Here is a factoid that will wow the crowd at your next cocktail party or church picnic. The researchers at John Fitch say it is Bottled Water Manufacturing. Do what? You manufacture water? I thought water — like air — came with the territory. Upon closer inspection, they are talking about getting the stuff into bottles, which involves machinery and packaging and stacking. They cite incidents where pallets of water, some weighing up to 4,000 pounds, have fallen and severely injured or killed workers. I feel terrible that I might be somewhat responsible for having bought bottled water in the past not knowing the risks I was putting on these people. From now on, I plan to get my water from the garden hose like I did as a kid.

The Fitch folks say the third most dangerous job is Ambulance Services. I’m going to take their word for it. I have never seen the manufacturing of bottled water, but I have seen first responders at work — sometimes, up close and personal — and I can’t imagine a more dangerous job. I’m thinking that when 4,000 pounds of bottled water falls on somebody or a vet technician is bitten by a pet possum, the EMTs are going to be the first call. And they have the third most dangerous job?

Skiing is said to be the fourth most dangerous job. I wouldn’t know. I have never had on a pair of skis in my life. Given my agility impairment, I would probably look like the ski jumper on the old Wide World of Sports show that never made it down the chute. Besides, I don’t like cold weather.

Some of the rest of the John Fitch. com rankings are obvious. Nursing and Residential Care Facilities rated fifth most dangerous. The report notes: “With the amount of equipment required in patient care and oftentimes long hours with little rest, there is potential for risk and injury due to the nature of this incredibly difficult industry to work in.”

Not so obvious, the study says that the Inland Water Passenger Transportation is more dangerous than working in Correctional Facilities. That raises an eyebrow. I know storms can come up on lakes and rivers on occasion, but is it really more dangerous than guarding prisoners, many of whom would gladly inflict bodily harm on an officer if given half a chance?

The Fitch list of the ten most dangerous jobs in the U.S. rounds out with Iron Foundries (#8) where molten pig iron or iron alloys is poured into molds to manufacture castings, followed by Couriers and Express Delivery Services (#9) because of the potential in that business for road accidents, bad weather and having to deal with cuckoo customers.

Last on the list is Mobile Home Manufacturing, which involves “heavy machinery, tools and materials that could potentially cause harm. There is a multitude of hazards that make these manufacturing jobs dangerous to work in.” Not to mention that mobile homes seem to be the first to go in a storm, which has got to be frustrating.

If you work in any of the above industries, I would urge you to be real careful. I don’t want a parakeet to claw you or a palette of water to fall on you or for you to go and break a bone skiing or get hot pig iron poured on you or any of the other above-mentioned hazards. I need you, dear reader. I mean, why else would I risk doing such a dangerous job?

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at or at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139

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