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The Most Dangerous U.S. Jobs

While the number of workplace fatalities has decreased slightly from 2003 to 2015, and significantly from the early 20th century to modern times, nothing can prepare an employee for an unfortunate incident. In 2015, a total of 4,836 fatal workplace injuries occurred, and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most dangerous occupations in the United States are the following:

  • Logger
  • Fisher/fishing-related jobs
  • Aircraft pilot/flight engineer
  • Roofer
  • Refuse & recyclable collectors
  • Structural iron and steel worker
  • Driver/sales worker
  • Agricultural worker (farmer, rancher, agricultural manager)
  • Electrical power-line installer/repairer
  • Landscaping, lawn service, grounds-keeping supervisors

While about 14% of deaths resulted from violence and other injuries by people and animals, the other 85% of workplace fatalities were accidental. Many of the deaths in 2015 were related to transportation incidents, about 42%. Half of those injuries involved large trucks, such as semis, tractor-trailers, and tankers. The next highest cause of fatality among these occupations was a fall, slip, or trip. In 2015, 648 individuals died as a result of a fall to a lower level, a common hazard for those who work on roofs, airplanes, electrical lines, and jobs that require climbing ladders (such as landscaping employees).

Jobs such as logging and steel working require heavy machinery and can involve falling objects, such as trees or rocks. Objects and equipment killed 519 people in 2015, most frequently plants, trees, vegetation, highway vehicles, and construction, logging, and mining machinery.

All of these jobs also include exposure to the elements, as they all involve work outdoors. Extreme temperature deaths rose from 2014—around 424 people died from exposure to harmful substances or environments.

Nothing can prepare people for unexpected storms, surprise malfunctions, or someone else’s inattention on the road. The workers who labor in these industries do so at their own risk and with no guarantee an accident won’t claim their lives. If you know someone who works in these trades, thank them for their bravery.

If you’ve been injured as a result of a workplace incident, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact one of our Orange County workers’ compensation attorneys at Humphrey & Associates to discuss your case.