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America's top 10 most dangerous jobs

America's top 10 most dangerous jobs


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There were 4,836 fatal work injuries in the United States in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While not all of these deaths are a result of a dangerous job, there are some occupations that come with increased risk.

Here are the top 10, according to the BLS.

1. Logging workers

Fatality rate of 132.7 per 100,000 workers

Loggers are in more danger while on the job than any other occupation. They work with heavy machinery all day, often in bad weather. But one of the biggest dangers is what people in the profession call "widow makers" — the broken tops or limbs of trees hidden among live branches. They're called that because they sometimes work loose and fall on the heads of unsuspecting loggers.

2. Fishers, related fishing workers

Fatality rate of 54.8 per 100,000 workers

Fishing is supposed to be relaxing, right? Not so for those who do it for a living. Weather is the biggest threat to fishermen. While most storms can be forecasted, it only takes an unexpected one to cause some real damage. What's more, fishermen are using dangerous equipment in a slick work environment. Not using it properly, being on the wrong end of a malfunctioning piece or simply unsure footing can be the difference between life and death.

3. Aircraft pilots, flight engineers

Fatality rate of 40.4 per 100,000 workers

Commercial air travel is generally safe. It's not very often that we hear a story about a major airliner going down. They can easily weather small storms and avoid the larger ones. But smaller aircraft pilots aren't always so lucky. A sudden storm or a minor equipment malfunction can often lead to a long way down.

4. Roofers

Fatality rate of 39.7 per 100,000 workers

For roofers, getting a sunburn or accidentally smashing their thumbs with a hammer are the least of their worries. Fortunately, safety education and safety harnesses are becoming more prevalent in the industry, resulting in lower fall rates. But even then, accidents do happen.

5. Refuse, recyclable material collectors

Fatality rate of 38.8 per 100,000 workers

Garbage trucks are rarely going fast enough to get caught up in a high-speed accident. They do, however, sometimes run into impatient drivers. A driver rushing around a garbage truck can easily forget about the workers collecting the waste and accidentally hit one.


6. Structural iron, steel workers

Fatality rate of 29.8 per 100,000 workers

These are the men and women who install the iron and steel beams that make up some of the tallest buildings in the country. One slip and there's a good chance things won't end well.

7. Driver/sales workers, truck drivers

Fatality rate of 24.3 per 100,000 workers

Long hours on the road can take its toll on even the best of truck drivers, and constant contact with other drivers increases the risk of an accident for anyone who spends most of their time on the road.

8. Farmers, ranchers, other agricultural managers

Fatality rate of 22 per 100,000 workers

Technology has made working the land more efficient and productive. Working with heavy machinery and equipment for long hours, however, can sometimes result in accidents. Death by livestock is another risk land workers carry each day.

9. Electrical power-line installers and repairers

Fatality rate of 20.5 per 100,000 workers

Safety is serious business for the men and women working on power lines. With all the precautions that come with the job, though, working high above the ground with high-power electricity is deadly business.

10. First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service and groundskeeping workers

Fatality rate of 18.1 per 100,000 workers

For those who spend an hour or two a week maintaining their lawn and working in the garden, there's not a whole lot of risk involved. People who do it for hours every day, often in stifling hot or bitter cold conditions, use heavier machinery and can make mistakes out of boredom or fatigue.

Whether or not you work in a dangerous profession, it's easy to make a mistake or become a victim of someone else's mistake. Be vigilant at all times and adopt measures to keep yourself and others safe. If something does happen to you, however, know that there's a local company invested in helping you get back on your feet.

Related topics

Robert J. DeBry and Associates


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