The 16 Most Dangerous Jobs In America

There were
3.5 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time workers in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics.

That number is happily very low compared to how bad things used to be, like in 1933 when there were 37 deaths per 100,000 workers.

Still, some professions will always be dangerous. Planes, trains, and boats may crash, people may fall from high places, and heavy equipment may be turn on its operator.

These are the risks taken on every day by many of America’s blue collar workers.

No. 16: Athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers

This field experiences 10.3 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 23 fatal injuries in 2011.

Despite all the physical contact that happens on the field, the majority of fatalities in this field were transportation related. In 2010 the median salary for athletes was $US43,740; for coaches and scouts, $US28,340; and for umpires and related workers, $US22,840.

No. 15: Operating engineers and construction equipment operators

This field experiences 12.1 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 47 fatal injuries in 2011.

These workers drive, manoeuvre, or control heavy machinery in nearly every weather condition. Transportation incidents accounted for the 32 fatalities in 2011, while contact with objects and equipment accounted for 8. In 2010, the median salary for operating engineers and construction equipment operators was $US39,460.

No. 14: Coal mining

This field experiences 13.1 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 17 fatal injuries in 2011.

Coal mining is vastly safer than it used to be, but it's still relatively dangerous. Contact with objects and equipment was the most common cause of death, followed by transportation incidents. In 2010, the median salary for coal miners was $US48,330.

No. 13: Construction laborers

This field experiences 15.7 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 191 fatal injuries in 2011.

Falls, slips, and trips were responsible for 34% of deaths, with contact with objects and equipment as the second most common cause of death. In 2010, the median salary for construction laborers and helpers was $US28,410.

No. 12: Grounds maintenance workers

This field experiences 16.9 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 183 fatal injuries in 2011.

Falls, slips, and trips were responsible for 28% of deaths, with transportation incidents a close second. The median salary for grounds maintenance workers in 2010 was $US23,740.

No. 11: Police and sheriff's patrol officers

This field experiences 18.6 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 130 fatal injuries in 2011.

No one ever said fighting crime was safe. Violence was responsible for 59% of deaths, with transportation incidents as the second leading cause. In 2010, the median salary for police officers and detectives, as well as deputy sheriffs, was $US55,010.

No. 10: Electrical power-line installers and repairers

This field experiences 19.5 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 26 fatal injuries in 2011.

Exposure to harmful substances or the environment -- i.e. electricity -- was responsible for nearly half of these deaths. Falls, slips, and trips and transportation incidents also proved fatal. The 2011 median annual salary for electrical power-line installers and repairers was $US49,170.

No. 9: Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

This field experiences 19.7 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 64 fatal injuries in 2011.

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs have more to fear from other people than car crashes. Violence was responsible for 52% of deaths, with transportation incidents accounting for nearly all of the rest. The 2010 median pay for taxi drivers and chauffeurs was $US22,440, which could be higher with tips.

No. 8: Driver/sales workers and truck drivers

This field experiences 24.5 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 774 fatal injuries in 2011.

Truck drivers, who work long hours to make thin profit margins, saw 82% of their fatalities come from transportation incidents. The median salary for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers was $US37,770.

No. 7: Farmers and ranchers

This field experiences 26.1 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 268 fatal injuries in 2011.

Transportation incidents were responsible for 54% of deaths for farmers and ranchers, who drive through some of the most remote area in the country. Contact with equipment and machinery was the second most common cause of death. The median salary for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers was $US60,750.

No. 6: Structural iron and steel workers

This field experiences 30.3 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 18 fatal injuries in 2011.

Falls, slips, and trips were the most common cause of death, followed by contact with equipment. The median salary for structural iron and steel workers was $US44,540.

No. 5: Roofers

This field experiences 34.1 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 60 fatal injuries in 2011.

Fall, slips, and trips accounted for 81% of roofer deaths. The median salary for roofers was $US28,410.

No. 4: Refuse and recyclable material collectors

This field experiences 36.4 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 30 fatal injuries in 2011.

Transportation incidents accounted for 60% of deaths, with contact with objects and equipment as the second leading cause. The median salary for refuse and recyclable material collectors was $US22,560.

No. 3: Aircraft pilots and flight engineers

This field experiences 56.1 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 71 fatal injuries in 2011.

Transportation incidents were responsible for all deaths in this high-flying profession. Unlike many other jobs on this list, the earning potential for airline pilots and flight engineers is high, with a median salary of $US92,060.

No. 2: Logging workers

This field experiences 104 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 65 fatal injuries in 2011.

Among power-driven blades and falling trees, contact with objects or equipment caused most deaths for loggers, with transportation incidents as the second leading cause. The median salary for logging workers was $US32,870.

No. 1: Fishers and related fishing workers

This field experiences 127.3 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 42 fatal injuries in 2011.

One of the oldest and hardest jobs in the world, fishing is nevertheless loved by many who do it professionally. They work long hours in nearly all weather conditions, surrounded by water, rocks, and fish that don't want to be caught. Transportation incidents accounted for most fishing deaths, with a small number caused contact with equipment or environment and violence. The median salary for fishers and related fishing workers was $US25,590.

BONUS: Hospital employees have the safest jobs

This field experiences 0.3 fatal injuries annually per 100,000 full-time workers.

There were 16 fatal injuries in 2011.

Even the safest job in America has risks. Violence was responsible for 6 deaths last year, with others caused by falls, slips, and trips and exposure to harmful substances. The median salary for nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants was $US24,010.

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