New Data Shows The Top 10 Deadliest Jobs In The US

January 27, 2020

Many jobs in the U.S. are relatively safe. But there are some occupations where the risk of dying is up to 10-times higher than the average job. To determine the most dangerous occupations in America, researchers from 24/7 Wall St. analyzed data from the most recent report on fatal work-related injuries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The report, published in December 2019, found that 5,250 people died from a work-related injury or illness in 2018. Annually, 4.7 million Americans are hurt on the job and one-third of workers are on the job when ill.

To determine which jobs have the highest risk of injury and death, researchers calculated the number of fatal accidents in 2018 per every 100,000 full-time equivalent workers for each of the 71 different occupations listed in the report.

Which jobs are considered the most dangerous?

Researchers found that the riskiest jobs often involve using heavy machinery. They’re also frequently located in dangerous locations such as remote areas or on top of buildings. With extreme hazards and a median annual wage of less than $41,000, 24/7 Wall St. has dubbed the following occupations the worst jobs in America:

  1. Logging workers: According to BLS data, logging is the most dangerous industry in the United States. As of 2018, there were 97.6 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers. Physical contact with objects and equipment is the leading cause of fatal injury. Loggers often work in remote locations where hospitals aren’t nearby when needed, which increases the risk of fatal injury. The median annual wage for a logger in the U.S. is $40,650.
  2. Commercial fishing workers: Commercial fishing is the second-most dangerous industry in the United States. As of 2018, there were 77.4 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers. Transportation incidents and drowning are the most common causes of fatal accidents. Like loggers, commercial fishing workers often work in remote areas where access to a medical professional or hospital isn’t readily available. The median annual wage for commercial fishing workers is unknown because of variability.
  3. Aircraft pilots and engineers. As of 2018, there were 58.9 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers. Transportation-related incidents were the main cause of fatal accidents. For pilots, any sort of crash can be fatal and access to a medical professional or hospital isn’t possible until the pilot lands. The median annual wage for aircraft pilots and engineers is $115,670.
  4. Roofers: The fatal injury rate for roofers is 51.5 per 100,000 workers. Slips, trips, and falls are the leading causes of fatal injury in the roofing industry. Roofers operate at considerable heights and are subjected to long hours in harsh environments. The median annual wage for roofers in the U.S. is $39,970.
  5. Refuse and recyclable material collectors. The fatal injury rate for refuse and recyclable material collectors is 44.3 per 100,000 workers. Transportation incidents were the leading cause of fatal injury as refuse collectors typically travel around neighborhoods throughout their shifts. Falls, overexertion, and contact with equipment are also common causes of injury. The median annual wage for refuse collectors and recyclable material collectors is $37,260.
  6. Truck drivers: The fatal injury rate for truck drivers and sales workers is 26 per 100,000 workers. Transportation incidents were the leading cause of fatal injury. There were 1,871,700 truck driver jobs as of 2016. Workers often spend long hours on the road hauling cargo. Truck drivers have one of the highest totals of nonfatal injuries at over 78,000. The median annual wage for truck drivers is $38,000.
  7. Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers: The fatal injury rate for farmers is 24.7 per 100,000 workers. Transportation incidents are the leading cause of fatal injury. Agricultural workers are often in contact with large animals and dangerous machinery. Typical farming equipment includes tractors, plows, harrows, seeders, fertilizer spreaders, and balers. The median annual wage for farmers, ranchers, and agricultural workers is $67,950.
  8. Structural iron and steel workers: The fatal injury rate for structural iron and steel workers is 23.6 per 100,000 workers. In 2018, there were 800 nonfatal injuries. Slips, trips, and falls are the leading cause of injury in this industry. Contact with equipment is also incredibly dangerous. Stainless steels are used at temperatures up to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. Unintentional contact with hot materials was reported in 800 injuries in the field in 2018. Installing materials is also dangerous. Even in the two main types of modular construction, permanent and relocatable, the work of installing structural support beams is physically demanding and dangerous when done at a great height. The median annual wage for structural iron and steel workers is $53,970.
  9. First-line supervisors of construction and extraction workers: The fatal injury rate for construction and extraction workers is 21 per 100,000 workers. There were 5,390 nonfatal injuries in 2018. Transportation incidents are the leading cause of fatal injury. Slips, trips, and falls are also a common cause of serious injury. First-line supervisors typically inspect work progress, work equipment, and safety measures to ensure full compliance. The median annual wage is $65,230.
  10. First-line supervisors of landscaping workers: The fatal injury rate for first-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers is 20.2 per 100,000 workers. Groundskeeping workers are also at risk of fatal injury with a rate of 18.6 per 100,000 workers. Slips, trips, and falls are the leading cause of fatal injury. The job itself is also physically demanding. Just to keep the grass green and healthy, groundskeeping workers must water each square foot of yard space with 55 gallons of water a year. Overexertion is the leading cause of nonfatal injuries. The median annual wage for first-line supervisors in this industry is $48,220.

While there are many dangerous jobs across America, the good news is that the number of work-related fatalities has declined since 2017. Work-related fatalities have also declined in Michigan.

According to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), there were 35 work-related fatalities in 2019. That’s a slight decrease from the 38 fatalities in 2018, 39 in 2017, and 43 in 2016. The year with the lowest number of workplace fatalities in Michigan was 2009 with 24.

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