At the risk of scaring you into becoming a hermit, we thought we’d take a look at every day activities that people don’t consider to be particularly hazardous. Due to the unpredictability of some commonplace hobbies and activities, they can carry real danger. These are things that we do on a daily or weekly basis that can lead to injury, accident or even, in extreme cases, fatalities. So what leisure pursuits, workplaces and transport should you be avoiding?
Statistically you have a 43,500 in 1 chance of dying in an accident at work. Fatal injuries equate to about 1 person in every 200,000 workers (173 in 2011/12). According to the government’s Health and Safety Executive, two thirds of fatal injuries fell into four categories:
• Fall from height
• Being struck by a moving object
• Being trapped by a collapsing structure
• Being struck by a vehicle
Falls made up over half of all reported work injuries, with slips and trips contributing to around 40% of severe injuries. The construction industry had the highest number of falls, and manufacturing carried the highest risk of moving object injuries. Men have more chance of suffering a major injury overall, but women are more liable to experience a slip or trip.
Getting in a cab
We’re knowledgeable adults, we tell our kids and friends to buckle up when they get into our car. So why is it that as soon as we enter the back of a black cab or other taxi we completely disregard the law and safety advice? One third of motorists killed in car crashes weren’t wearing a seatbelt. There is a law for a reason
Unbelievably, cabbies don’t have to wear a seatbelt while it is ‘being used for seeking hire or carrying a passenger for hire’. Even private cabs are exempt whilst carrying a passenger. The reasons are usually cited as safety – they can move faster if assaulted by a passenger and can get in and out quickly to help passengers with luggage. Up to 15 drivers and front seat passengers are killed each year as a result of impact from a back seat passenger, so cabbies – belt up!
Being a Pedestrian
Now, this video is obviously an extreme, but we all know that crossing the road, especially at rush hour can be a risk. But rather than the White Van Man who is changing radio stations and not concentrating on the road, it’s those pesky bicycles that you should really be more wary of. They make no noise, come out of nowhere and cause more fatalities than light goods vehicles. Worse still are buses and coaches, which are 13 times more likely to cause a death of a pedestrian than small vans. With them being so much louder, larger and slower than most road users you’d think you could avoid them. Evidently not.
Did you know you’re only five times more likely to be attacked by a shark (11m to 1 chance) than drown whilst at the beach? Actually dying from a shark attack is estimated at odds of around 300m to 1. It depends where you are of course, but we’d avoid Florida and Australia if you’d like to avoid death by shark. Statistically, swimming carries as much risk as automobile accidents and firearm incidents.
Despite the familiarity of these sporting pursuits, there are some serious risks involved in the unpredictable nature of such activities. Did you know, for instance, that there were 7 Table Tennis related deaths in Germany between 1997 and 2006? Sports accidents account for 750,000 injuries in the UK each year. Here are some familiar items of sports equipment and the number of injuries they cause per year:
Golf Club – 6,600
Surfboard – 3,000
Toboggan/Sledge – 3,000
Badminton – 2,500
Skipping Rope – 2,400
Fishing Rod – 1,050
Boxing Glove – 900
Mini Trampoline – 850
Javelin – 100
Clay Pigeon – 55
Crude extrapolation of data points to base jumping as being the riskiest assessed sport – 1 in 2,317 jumps are fatal, which makes your odds of dying 1 in 60 and this will usually be caused by the non-deployment of a parachute.
Being at home
It seems like the safest place on earth, but actually it is a potential death-trap. More people die drowning in the bath than at their local swimming pool, although this statistic does include people who simply fall into the bath. There are around 2 million reported accidents in the home each year. Of these, 200,000 are DIY and gardening related and another 200,000 are from cooking or household chores and up to 6 people die in a garden pond. An animal lead or leash caused 5,000 people to have an accident.
Being a man/woman
In 2008, there was an interesting study into the risk-taking behavioural difference between men and women. It showed that when crossing the road, whilst women were far less likely than men to cross when there was a high risk, they were marginally more likely than men to go for it when it was ‘risky’, i.e when there was a vehicle approaching.
DISCLAIMER: Avoiding many of these hobbies, occupations or endeavours may harm your enjoyment of life, so take some of it with a pinch of salt. That said, make sure you look left and right when you cross the road, be careful with skipping ropes and wear a seat belt. Ultimately, there is a certain amount of risk in everything we do and rather than wanting to scare you, we wanted to bring your attention to a few unusual facts and statistics about the more surprising risks that we don’t consider on an everyday basis.