Sitting in our offices, waiting for time to pass by can seem like an eternity. It’s not only boring, but also exhausting to sit in one place all day and stare at a computer. However, after reading about these 10 tough jobs, you would appreciate your work more than ever before. For millions, life is not as easy as sitting in front of a computer. In order to survive, they have to do hard labor as well as put their lives on the line. Here, we are listing 10 tough jobs, with some deteriorating their health and mental ability by doing them.
1. Manhole cover production, New York City
Almost 10,000 miles away from Manhattan, men from India produce around 2,750 manhole covers every year for New York City. The men work barefoot, shirtless and have no safety standards to follow. They also work in extremely humid conditions, with the temperature of the molten-hot metal around 2,190° F — 2,550° F. The only thing available to some of them are a few pair of safety goggles but they are rarely used. Shakti Industries in Howrah, India produces manhole covers for Con Edison and New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection, as well as for departments in New Orleans and Syracuse. (source)
2. Sulfur mining, East Java, Indonesia
Sulfur mining is a job that requires the miners to work in hazardous conditions. The job is extremely popular in Kawah Ijen Volcano, located in Jawa, Indonesia. Sulfur, also known as “devil’s gold”, is located 2700 feet inside the volcano; where the sulfur crystals form. Most workers have very little protection and sometimes work during nights as well as in extreme heat.
Something as simple as oxygen masks could improve their health or even save their lives, but not even those are provided. Breathing sulfurous gas burns their lungs and makes tears stream from their eyes as they haul the “devil’s gold”. According to National Geographic, most workers carry around 150 to 200 pounds of sulfur every trip and only get paid a mere $5 a day. The average life expectancy of these men barely exceeds 50 years. (source)
3. Sewer cleaner, India
There exists a section of society whose entire life revolves around cleaning sewage, and they do it without any safety gear or protection. The manual scavengers of India are ostracized by society and ignored by the government; only to take out dirt with their bare hands, without any protection against the diseases they may contract. Because of a centuries-old Indian caste system, people known as Dalits are deemed as “untouchables” by society. They are not allowed to interact with other castes, not allowed to cook food for or work for higher caste members, and they are not allowed inside any of their homes. The only way to earn a living for people as young as 18, is to work as manual scavengers and dive into the filth without even covering their faces. (source)
4. Snake milker
The process we use to produce anti-venom for snake bites is more than 120 years old. Collecting venom from snakes is a crucial process since it is used to create anti-venom to treat those who have been subjected to bites from venomous snakes. Your odds of survival are close to 100%, if you receive the correct anti-venom in a reasonable amount of time. Receiving the anti-venom is the easy part whereas collecting it is not for the light-hearted.
There are men and women who call themselves professional snake milkers and collect venom from snakes in jars. The venom is then supplied to labs throughout the world, to make anti-venom as well as for other medicinal purposes. In places such as Thailand, Africa and Costa Rica, most professional snake milkers do it with their bare hands and no safety gear. (source)
5. Diamond mining, Sierra Leone
Ever since diamonds were discovered in Sierra Leone in the 1930’s, they have had a significant impact on the country. However, the diamonds do not enrich the locals who extract them from the ground with their bare hands. For decades, men and women have been collecting diamonds that are more commonly dispersed close to the surface of river beds. They can be found by anyone with a shovel and a sieve. Although the diamond site provides a livelihood for between 300,000 and 400,000 people, the business is dirty; literally.
The total value of diamonds extracted in the country is reported to be $320 million but workers don’t get paid unless they discover at least one tiny piece of diamond every day. The non-mechanical and non-regulated diamond mine provides workers with food and tools to discover the gems. However, no protective gear or something as simple as a pair of gloves is provided. (source)
6. Salt mining, Ethiopia
Ethiopian salt miners labour in 140F temperatures while earning just £5-a-day in the hottest workplace on Earth. Temperatures in the Afar triangle rarely fall below 122F. Currently, there are around 1,000 salt miners that are authorized to work in the area, surrounded by inhumane conditions. The workers also have to use homemade tools to break the salt blocks into little chunks and then haul it with the help of camels to almost 50 miles to Berahile in Ethiopia. The most experienced salt mine workers earn no more than $225 per month. (source)
7. Helicopter Electrical Lineman, United States
Helicopter electrical linemen repair power and other utility lines by working from helicopters in areas that cannot be accessed using work trucks or ladders. Most helicopter linemen work for utility companies, local government, contractors or are self-employed. When there’s a power outage or repair that needs to be performed, the linemen are deployed with the help of helicopters.
These brave men and women use gear that help them cling on to the live cables and perform routine maintenance. However, the average salary for this daring job is only around $35,000 -$40,000 USD. (source)
8. Crime scene cleaners, United States and the UK
This job is certainly not for the light-hearted. It’s a profession that few people realize exists, until they have to deal with something unimaginable. The select group of iron-stomached, steel-nerved workers, who are also known as trauma scene restoration specialists, bio-hazard remediation technicians, or simply crime scene cleaners, have the job of removing blood, fluids, human tissue, and hazardous substances from crime scenes after evidence is collected.
The industry was small when it started during the late 1900’s but by 2012, it’s grown into a $350-million industry in the United States, and included more than 500 companies. The job does have its perks, with some earning from $25 per hour to over $100 per hour, and the top 10% earning more than $75,000. However, most people have a hard time keeping the job and have to undergo counseling and are often treated to PTSD. (source)
9. Mosquito testers
In order to fight certain diseases, scientists have to conduct studies with mosquitoes, so that they can come up with a cure. Mosquito testers are basically human test subjects who voluntarily allow themselves to be bitten, for the sake of humanity. Infected mosquitos are usually placed in a controlled zone, where volunteers have to put their arms and allow the mosquitos to bite them. This provides scientists with important data such as the speed of transfer and how long it takes for the symptoms to appear. We’re grateful that someone out there is doing these jobs. Even more grateful that it isn’t us. (source)
10. An ordinary working day somewhere in the Arctic
Deicing procedures on Arctic vessels are somewhat primitive. Freighters carrying scientists and their equipment are often covered with ice after they have been docked for a week or two. Most ships have sailors whose primary job is to deice the ship. Their choice of tools are chainsaws and other hand tools; which yield to be more effective. However, the crew have to work in extreme conditions. The average Arctic winter temperature is -30° F while winter temperatures can drop below −58 °F over large parts of the Arctic.