Apparently over all the years Irwin worked with snakes, crocs, lizards, and other animals he has never taken a bite from a poisonous snake or lizard, and he has never had a serious bite from a croc or other animal that a few stiches couldn't fix. And he has been doing this for years, basically all his life.
Also Irwin's dad was doing this all his life as well, he is now probably in his 70's and made it just fine. These guys were experts and the risk they took was calculated. I look at it like driving in a race car. Yeah it is dangerous but the risk is calculated, and it is rare for an expert driver to be killed in a race just like it took a freak thing to kill Irwin. And it sounds like the camera man is the one who might have made the mistake and spooked the stingray but it was Irwin that paid the price. It would be the same if another race car driver made a mistake and lost control of his car and it felw into another driver killing him. It wasn't the victims fault it was just a freak thing.
I think he played up the danger for the cameras at times when handling animals. He knew exactly what he was doing, and it made good tv.
Even eminent chartered accountants are known, in their capacity as fishermen, blissfully to ignore differences between seven and ten inches, half a pound and two pounds, three fish and a dozen fish. ~ William Sherwood Fox, Silken Lines and Silver Hooks, 1954