Some occupations—for example: infantryman, structural steel worker, or firefighter—are by nature dangerous. Other jobs—factory work, working with chemicals, or meatpacking—may be dangerous or unhealthy if safety or cleanliness are ignored. Children doing dangerous jobs has led to outrage and calls for reform.

There is a long tradition of documenting “the dangerous trades” in the United States. Social reformers have used photographs as evidence to ban child labor, reduce the hours that women could work, and expose unsanitary workplaces. Engineers have photographed the details of machinery and processes to improve operations and practices.