We know the climate will be healthier if we switch from gasoline to biofuel, solar fuel and wind power. It turns out that PEOPLE will be healthier too.

It’s not just the air we breathe, it’s the workers who toil in the industries that are associated fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas. These are dangerous jobs!

Risk of workplace injury and death among energy workers is a hidden cost of energy production. Mining, which includes coal, gas, and oil extraction from underground or underwater stores, is the second most hazardous occupation in the US with 27.5 deaths per 100,000, compared to the average annual fatality rate of 3.4 deaths for all US industries. Expansion of renewable energies should appreciably improve the health status of the 700,000 US workers employed in the energy sector. When occupational health risks to workers in renewable energy industries are compared to workers in fossil fuel industries., a large number of problems emerge, from the general environment to adverse effects on human health caused by pollution.

There are more subtle dangers as well: Highway crashes account for the greatest proportion of fatalities among oil and gas extraction workers, who are not subject to work-hour restrictions imposed on other transportation industries. Dr. Steven Sumner says, “The energy sector remains one of the most dangerous industries for US workers. A transition to renewable energy generation utilizing sources such as wind and solar could potentially eliminate 1300 worker deaths over the coming decade.”

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Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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