If you’re a reality TV buff, you already know about dangerous jobs like ice-road trucking, king crab fishing and swamp logging. Here in the landlocked Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, though, we don’t see a lot of those types of dangerous jobs. But that doesn’t mean PA workers don’t face their fair share of dangers while on the job.

The Morning Call recently listed the most dangerous jobs in Pennsylvania, based on statistics and information provides by the U.S. Department of Labor. You can access the full list here, but there were the Top 10:

  1. Heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers
  2. Laborers and freight, stock and material movers
  3. Machinery repair and maintenance workers
  4. Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters
  5. Landscapers and groundskeepers
  6. Nursing assistants
  7. Stonemasons, blockmasons and brickmasons
  8. Registered nurses
  9. Light truck and delivery drivers
  10. Construction laborers

The jobs made the Top 10 list not only because they are physically demanding, and require the types of actions that might lead to serious injuries, but because workers are exposed to hazardous materials that can lead to debilitating illnesses. If you work in a dangerous industry in Pennsylvania, and you sustain an injury in the course of completing your job duties, then you may be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits while you heal.

Types of workers’ compensation benefits available in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act was first established in 1915 to help workers who sustained serious injuries during the course of their work. Over the years, the Act was expanded to include workers who developed life-threatening conditions (like mesothelioma, for example).

The types of compensation you could recover have expanded as well. Depending on the severity of your injury, and how it might affect your ability to work in the future, PA allows injured workers to file for:

  • Temporary Total Disability
  • Permanent Total Disability
  • Permanent Partial Disability
  • Disfigurement and specific loss benefits

So whether you break an arm while you’re building a brick wall, or sustain a traumatic brain injury while moving a literal ton of stock around a warehouse – or are hurt in any number of possible ways – there’s a program in place to help you.

Workers’ compensation protects employees in dangerous industries

Some of the jobs on this list might seem obvious at first glance; construction sites are dangerous places, after all. But you might be surprised by some of the others. After all, how dangerous is a job in the nursing field, right?

As it turns out, it has quite a number of risks. For example, nurses and nursing assistants engage in a number of repetitive motions every day: picking up patients, bending over to check vital signs or adjust bed rails, typing on a keyboard, etc. It is not uncommon for medical field workers to develop repetitive stress injuries over time. If the injuries become debilitating, or require surgical intervention, then the worker could be facing weeks of recovery time – time where the bills will continue to come in the mail, and the kids will continue to need shoes and school clothing and supplies, and the food is the cupboards will need to be replaced. Nurses also run the risk of being physically assaulted, of coming in contact with infectious diseases, and of slipping and falling on wet floors or in the course of emergencies.

Any they’re not the only ones: truck drivers are in constant danger from other drivers on the road as well as hazardous driving conditions; landscapers often use pesticides, exposing them to the effects of those chemicals; plumbers and pipefitters are exposed to toxic mold (and commercial plumbers work with pipes that can weight several hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds). The dangers are innumerable.

Workers’ compensation programs are necessary to help protect people who do vital work, both here in PA and around the country. They’re designed to protect workers and their families. All employees (with some exceptions, of course) pay into the system, and they have the right to file a claim for those benefits when they need them the most.

About the author

Larry Pitt & Associates is an award-winning law firm serving the greater Philadelphia area. For more than 35 years, the attorneys have provided comprehensive counsel and practical guidance to clients seeking workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security Disability benefits, and to individuals seeking to file a personal injury claim.