The 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in America

This past December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2015. According to the report, there were 4,836 fatal work injuries in 2015, which is the highest since 2008 (5,214 fatal injuries). The overall rate of fatal work injuries was 3.38 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, which was lower than the 2014 rate of 3.43.

Of the 4,836 fatal injuries in 2015, over 50% happened in the Construction, Transportation, Agriculture Forestry, Fishing and Professional Services industries. The Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industry had the highest fatal work injury rate, 22.8 per 100,000 full-time workers, and the Construction industry had the highest number of fatal work injuries, 937.


The report provided additional data on the civilian occupations with the highest fatal work injury rates in 2015. The list below outlines America's 10 most dangerous jobs, ranked by the number of deaths for every 100,000 workers (Fatal work injury rate).

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1) Logging workers: Fatal work injury rate: 132.7 � Fatal work injuries: 67

Fatal injuries in farming, fishing and forestry occupations increased 10 percent in 2015 to 284, the highest level in 7 years. Loggers are exposed to rough terrain, falling branches, potential falls and use dangerous equipment, which may malfunction. In addition, loggers are often isolated from proper medical care and it may be difficult for medical personnel to access an area where a logger is injured.

2) Fishers: Fatal work injury rate: 54.8 � Fatal work injuries: 23

While the total number of fatal injuries increased 10 percent for this industry sector, the fatal work injury rate dropped from 80.8 in 2014 to 54.8 in 2015 for Fishers and related fishing workers. There was one more fatal injury (23) than in 2014 (22). Fishing is a dangerous occupation, as shown on television shows like Deadliest Catch. Fishers face unpredictable and often harsh weather, which leads to accidents on the water. These workers are also isolated and often reliant on the medical expertise of those on-board with them.

3) Aircraft pilots/engineers: Fatal work injury rate: 40.4 � Fatal work injuries: 57

Fatal injuries among aircraft pilots and flight engineers were down 30 percent in 2015 to a series low of 57 fatalities, although they did have a high fatal injury rate compared to all workers. Aircraft incidents in 2015 were at their highest level since 2011 even with this decrease for aircraft pilots and flight engineers.

4) Roofers: Fatal work injury rate: 39.7 � Fatal work injuries: 75

Fatal injuries among construction and extraction workers rose by 2 percent to 924 cases in 2015, the highest level since 2008. Roofers face many dangers including exposure to elements, potential for falls and uneven surfaces on roofs. Falls are one of the highest causes of fatal injuries, and often results from improper training or lack of the proper protective equipment.

5) Refuse collectors: Fatal work injury rate: 38.8 � Fatal work injuries: 33

The fatal work injury rate for refuse and recyclable material collectors increased from 35.8 in 2014 to 38.8 in 2015, and the total number of fatal injuries increased from 27 in 2014 to 33 in 2015. Garbage collector may not seem like a hazardous profession, but there are dangers associated with the job. One of the most common causes of fatal injuries is slipping or falling from a refuse collection truck and being struck by the truck or another vehicle. Additionally, the contents of trashcans, such as needles, broken glass or toxic chemicals, can cause injury and even death.

6) Iron and steel workers: Fatal work injury rate: 29.8 � Fatal work injuries: 17

The fatal work injury rate for structural iron and steel workers increased from 25.2 in 2014 to 29.8 in 2015, and the total number of fatal injuries increased from 15 in 2014 to 17 in 2015. Iron and steel workers face many dangers on the job including, falls, cuts and burns. Working high above the ground on uneven or slick surfaces can cause falls, cuts to the hand can result from use of shears and burns to different parts of the body can result from welding.

7) Truck drivers: Fatal work injury rate 24.3 - Fatal work injuries: 885

Transportation and material moving occupations recorded fewer fatal injuries in 2015 than in 2014, but still accounted for over one-fourth of all fatal work injuries in 2015. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers incurred 745 fatal work injuries in 2015, the most of any occupation. Weather, driver fatigue and increased traffic all contribute to the dangers associated with truck driving. Additionally equipment failures and breakdowns can increase the likelihood of an accident.

8) Farmers/Ag workers: Fatal work injury rate: 22.0 - Fatal work injuries: 252

Fatalities among agricultural workers rose to 180, an increase of 22 percent from the 148 cases reported in 2014. Farmworkers and laborers involved in crop, nursery, and greenhouse operations recorded 106 fatalities, an increase of 33 percent from 2014 and matched highest total ever reported (in 2010) for that occupational group. Farming is a demanding and dangerous profession. Accidents can happen due to the misuse or malfunction of machines such as tractors, choppers, hay balers and others. With farms located in rural areas, it is often hard to get to a hospital or medical facility in time to treat an injury.

9) Utility line workers: Fatal work injury rate: 20.5 � Fatal work injuries: 26

The fatal work injury rate for electrical power-line installers and repairers increased from 19.2 in 2014 to 20.5 in 2015, and the total number of fatal injuries increased from 25 in 2014 to 26 in 2015. Utility line workers face harsh weather and electrical hazards including arc flash, which can cause electrocution and deadly burns.

10) Landscaping/grounds: Fatal work injury rate: 18.1 � Fatal work injuries: 38

Fatal injuries among building and grounds cleaning and maintenance workers rose 15 percent to 289 in 2015, a series high. Fatal injuries involving grounds maintenance workers increased to 183 in 2015 from 158 in 2014, which matched the series high in 2011. Some of the hazards that this group faces includes, working in extreme heat, falls from ladders, stuck in machinery, electrical burns or shocks and traffic dangers.

As you can see from the list above, there are many dangers that workers face across many different occupations. With the number of injuries at the highest point since 2008, it is imperative for organizations to protect employees.

To ensure the safety of your employees, you need to take a holistic approach to workplace safety. This means developing a safety program that provides the proper protective equipment, educates employees through comprehensive safety training and uses advanced technology to take a proactive approach to injury prevention.

Speak to an Arbill Safety Expert today, and see how we can work with you to make 2017 your safest year ever.

Have a Safe Day!