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Deadliest Careers: The Most Dangerous Jobs You Don’t Want to Have

Posted on by Ben Hartwig in SafetyJanuary 20, 2019

Everyone has to make a living, but some choose to do so by risking their safety and even their lives. We’ve done some research and found the top 15 most dangerous jobs in the U.S.:

  1. Logging is one of the most dangerous careers a person can have today, with 135.9 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers in 2016. These fatalities usually occur when a person is struck by an object (a falling tree, perhaps?), and their median wage is $37,590.
  2. Fishing is another deadly career, with 86 fatalities per 100,000 workers in 2016. The most common incident isn’t known, and the median wage is $27,110.
  3. Pilots and flight engineers are also very risky jobs, with 55.5 fatal injuries per 100,000 in 2016. The most common injury is from overexertion, which means long and random hours. The median annual wage is $105,720.
  4. Roofers have a median wage of $37,760 and had 101 fatal injuries per 100,000 in 2016. These were mostly the result of falls and slips.
  5. Refuse and recyclable material collectors suffered 34.1 fatalities per 100,000 workers in 2016. Most of these were a result of falls and slips in the workplace. The median wage for this job is $35,270.
  6. Iron and steel workers suffer 25.1 fatal injuries per 100,000 – most often from being struck by an object. Their median wage is $51,800.
  7. Delivery and truck drivers experienced 24.7 fatal injuries per 100,000 in 2016, mostly from overexertion resulting in/or motor vehicle accidents. Median wages for this job are $36,670.
  8. Farmers suffered 23.1 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers in 2016. These were mostly due to falls and slips, but more than 44% were a result of machinery or other motorized vehicle accidents. Median wages for farmers is $66,360.
  9. Construction supervisors experienced 18 fatal injuries per 100,000 from falls and slips, but 12.7% of these fatalities were a result of being hit by a car on a roadway. Their median salary is $62,980.
  10. Other agricultural workers suffered 156 fatal injuries in 2016, mostly from being struck by an object during transportation incidents with off-road vehicles and machinery. Their median wage is $22,520.
  11. Grounds maintenance crews suffered 217 fatal injuries with a median wage of $26,830. The most common accidents were from being struck by an object.
  12. First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers experienced 44 fatal injuries in 2016, mostly from being struck by an object. Their median wage is $63,540.
  13. Construction laborers make about $33,430 per year and suffered 254 fatal injuries on the job in 2016. Their most common accident recorded is being struck by an object.
  14. Police officers make a median wage of $59,680 and experienced 108 fatal injuries in 2016. These were most commonly caused by intentional injury by another person, such as shootings. Car accidents were also a common cause of fatalities.
  15. Electrical power line workers suffered 21 fatal injuries or 14.6 per 100,000 workers in 2016. They are prone to overexertion and bodily reaction and make about $68,010.

It goes without saying that most of the trade jobs that require great physical exertion also carry a higher risk of injury and fatalities, and are the cause of higher insurance premiums for those employers.

Across the entire workforce, fatalities totaled 3.6 per 100,000 workers. Professional jobs like writing, teaching and administration positions carry very few physical dangers and fatalities are very near zero. Other dangerous jobs with higher-than-average fatalities include taxi drivers; athletes, coaches, and umpires; construction machinery operators; painters; maintenance technicians and HVAC installers and mechanics.

In 1970 Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act or OSHA. This established the organization that sets workplace safety standards and enforces them through education and preventative measures. From the passing of the Act to 2016, workplace fatalities were reduced from 14,000 to 5,200 annually.

Whether the median wages are worth the risk are up to you, but choosing one of these listed careers could increase the likelihood of a workplace injury dramatically. That’s definitely something to consider if you’re trying to determine your next steps in your career, what type of education path to pursue, or whether a total career change may help you and your family sleep better at night.

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