6 Risks Defense Contractor Employees Face On the Job

6 Risks Defense Contractor Employees Face On the Job

Sep 11, 2020 | Defense Base Act

Did you know more US defense contractor employees have died in Afghanistan than US troops?

It’s not hard to believe if you know the dangerous situations contractors often face.

Thousands of contractor employees serve overseas in war-torn locations.  If you or a loved one works as a contractor employee, it is important to grasp the risks associated with the job. 

Read on for a glimpse of the dangers these civilians may face on a daily basis.


Defense contractor employees travel to some of the most terrorism-ridden countries. While American soldiers have trained for years to combat terrorist attacks, most civilian contractors don’t have that luxury.

Interpreters, nurses, and security officers alike risk terrorist attacks while serving overseas. Luckily, the Department of Defense requires an Antiterrorism/Force Protection briefing before they deploy.


One of the most common risks of working overseas, contractor employees are susceptible to a variety of injuries. 

From explosives to vehicle crashes, they face dangers every day on the job. If you sustain injuries, you could receive compensation through the Defense Base Act (DBA).

For a guide to preventing workplace injuries, click here


From malaria to PTSD, defense contractors risk exposure to physical and mental illnesses working as a contractor employee. 

The Department of Defense must provide safety oversight for injuries and known dangers. This includes PTSD and other illnesses. 

Ensure you have the proper vaccinations and healthcare preparations before leaving the country. If you think you suffer from PTSD, you should also look into lost wage compensation through the DBA.

Climate Change

In recent years, the threat of climate change has only increased. Some military bases are more vulnerable than others to flooding, drought, and wildfires.

Especially if defense contractors work in a maritime environment, rising tides and volatile weather patterns pose an increased risk. Check the climate risk of your location and if it has installed the proper infrastructure for climate change. 


If defense contractors are working in hostile foreign territory, they may be taken hostage.

Terrorist groups and gangs take hundreds of Americans hostage each year. As a westerner working with the DoD, they’re a prime target for extortion or propaganda at the hands of enemies.

Workplace Abuse

Nearly 800 US civilian contractor employees reported a sexual assault in 2015.

This doesn’t include other forms of workplace abuse. Sexual harassment reports and employee extortion are a few examples. Abuse is not exclusive to contractor employees. But, it is harder to navigate proper reporting channels while overseas. 

Over the years, the DoD has established a more comprehensive sexual assault prevention program. When in doubt, report any allegations and check if your employer has completed the required sexual assault training. 

Risks Faced By Defense Contractor Employees 

Have you sustained an injury working as a contractor employee? Do you suffer from PTSD as a result of your contracting job?

If you or a loved one have experienced any of the trauma listed in this article, you may qualify for compensation.

The Defense Base Act covers injuries of defense contractor employees beyond those discussed here as well. For more information, contact one of our experienced lawyers.