10 Most Dangerous Jobs in America

When you think of dangerous jobs, roadside zoo operator and underwater welder are the first things that come to mind. But shockingly, they don’t rank in the top ten most dangerous jobs in America, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The jobs where most people die are a little more mundane.

These are jobs where death is instant and not, per se, the slow death of the soul as you return to the same windowless cubicle year after year, exhausting yourself in meetings that could have been covered in an email. Something we should all consider next time we’re practicing Duo Lingo sitting in traffic during our forty-minute commutes. Instead, the deadly Arctic waters could sweep you overboard from the deck of a fishing vessel.


10 Most Dangerous Jobs in America

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#10 Grounds Maintenance Workers

20 fatalities per 100,000.

It’s not surprising, given the tools of the trade are chainsaws and riding mowers. But it’s the insecticides most often referenced as the dangerous of the job. Danger hits a little different when you realize it’s slow poisoning from pesticides.

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#9 Farmers and Ranchers

23 fatalities per 100,000.

It’s the tools of the trade that get you. Farming is twice as deadly as being a cop in America, and a third of deaths are from tractor roll-overs. It’s also because farms and ranches are in remote locations, distant from ambulances and hospitals, so you’re more likely to die from an injury.

#8 Structural Steel Workers

26 fatalities per 100,000.

Since we’ve all seen the picture of the steelworkers on the girder during the Rockefeller Center’s construction, it’s no surprise this ranks on the most-dangerous-jobs list. Now people have safety equipment, but it’s still a lot of climbing and balancing required.

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#7 Truck Drivers

27 fatalities per 100,000.

Anyone afraid of flying has heard riding in a car poses a greater risk to your safety than rocketing through the sky at 500 mph, 30,000 feet above the earth. This category includes anyone who spends time in a car as part of their occupation, including salespeople. The roads are dangerous.

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#6 Garbage Collector

35 fatalities per 100,000.

These people don’t get enough credit. They keep our cities clean and work with heavy, dangerous equipment every day. They also work on the road, which we’ve established is somehow less safe than the sky.

#5 Construction Helpers

40 fatalities per 100,000

To make it in the construction trades, you start as an apprentice or helper to learn skills. It means that you’re unskilled on hazardous job sites with dangerous equipment and materials. Just falls from ladders and scaffolding contribute to many fatal injuries.

#4 Roofers

54 fatalities per 100,000

Well, no surprise here. Falling off stuff is a real danger, but there are more hazards to roofing that are less apparent. Roofers work with tar and other dangerous chemicals and risk entanglement with power lines. There’s a reason you’re well advised to keep off your roof.

#3 Aircraft Pilots

62 fatalities per 100,000

It’s not falling out of the sky that poses the most significant risk to airline pilots. There’s a whole host of other problems that come from spending your life seven miles above the surface of the earth–skin cancer, chronic dehydration, and blood clots.

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#2 Logging Workers

100 fatalities per 100,000

Combine chainsaws and falling from great heights, and it’s close to the most dangerous job in America. Besides deadly falls, you’re also at risk of a tree falling on you either from yourself or one of your co-workers. Plus, you could fall off the side of a mountain or die from exposure.

Photo by Tadeu Jnr on Unsplash
#1 Fishing Workers

145 fatalities per 100,000

Being a fisherperson consistently ranks as the most dangerous job in America. Half of those deaths are from fishing boats sinking, followed by falling overboard. Shockingly, from 2000 to 2016, of all people who died from falling overboard, none of them we wearing a personal flotation device.

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