Certain occupations undeniably pose a greater threat to its workers, who might be exposed to harmful substances, dangerous environments, and life-threatening situations if proper safety regulations are not followed. That might be no surprise to the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way for their well-earned wage… but are those wages enough in the first place?

The list of 15 Most Dangerous Jobs in the US

1. Logging workers

2. Grounds maintenance workers

3. Miscellaneous agricultural workers

4. Police and sheriff’s patrol officers

5. Construction laborers

6. Fishers and related fishing workers

7. Crossing guards

8. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers

9. Derrick operators in oil, gas, and mining

10. Roofers

11. Garbage collectors

12. Ironworkers

13. Delivery drivers

14. Firefighting supervisors

15. Power linemen

What Are The Most Dangerous Jobs in the US?

1. Logging workers

Photo: USA Today
Photo: USA Today

Total deaths (2018): 56Fatal injury rate: 111 per 100,000 workers

Salary: $41,230

Most common fatal accidents: Contact with objects and equipment

The most dangerous job in America is logging. Logging workers had a fatal accident rate that was 33 times the average job nationwide.

Logging workers harvest forests to provide the raw material for goods such as wood, paper, and cardboard, in addition to other industrial products. These workers spend almost all of their time outside in forests and other isolated areas.

Logging workers use heavy machinery to fell trees and handle logs. Logging worker deaths are most often caused by contact with logging machines or logs.

2. Grounds maintenance workers

Photo: rd
Photo: rd

Fatal injury rate: 17.4 per 100k

Fatal injuries per year: 217

Most common cause of fatal injury: Transportation incidents

Mean annual salary: $30,330

Educational requirements: Some licenses, certifications, and registrations may be required

5 times more likely to have a fatal injury than the average worker

Among the lowest wages on this list are those of grounds maintenance workers, who, despite their low pay, are actually five times more likely to experience a fatal injury than the average worker. Groundskeepers and similar workers often work with heavy industrial machinery and are responsible for wide swaths of land. Transportation to and from various locations is the cause of the greatest number of these workers’ deaths on the job.

3. Miscellaneous agricultural workers

Photo: fox2now
Photo: fox2now

Fatal injury rate: 17.4 per 100k

Fatal injuries per year: 156

Most common cause of fatal injury: Transportation incidents

Mean annual salary: $25,990

Educational requirements: High school diploma or equivalent and some licenses, certifications, and registrations may be required

5 times more likely to have a fatal injury than the average worker

Call it less than ideal working conditions: agricultural workers have the 11th most dangerous job in America, combined with the lowest mean annual wage on this list. These workers have transportation incidents to blame for their high rate of fatal injury, however—not from operation of heavy machinery.

4. Police and sheriff’s patrol officers

Photo:BBC
Photo: BBC

Fatal injury rate: 14.6 per 100k

Fatal injuries per year: 108

Most common cause of fatal injury: Violence and other injuries by persons or animals

Mean annual salary: $64,490

Educational requirements: High school diploma or equivalent, or college coursework/degree, and training

4 times more likely to have a fatal injury than the average worker

On-the-job fatality rates among law enforcement have reportedly risen in the past few years, mostly due to intentional shootings (here coded as “violence and other injuries by persons or animals”). Although educational requirements vary across offices, districts, and states, prospective police officers are expected to go through extensive vetting, training, and certification.

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5. Construction laborers

Photo: Construction Today
Photo: Construction Today

Fatal injury rate: 15.1 per 100k

Fatal injuries per year: 254

Most common cause of fatal injury: Falls, slips, and trips

Mean annual salary: $38,890

Educational requirements: High school diploma or equivalent, training, and certain licenses, certifications, and registrations may be required

4 times more likely to have a fatal injury than the average worker

A profession ripe for accidental injury, construction labor claims more lives than almost all the occupations on this list. By the numbers alone, 254 construction laborers died on the job in 2016. (Yet the actual rate of injury for this work is smaller than that of their supervisors—see below.) Falls from high buildings and scaffolding claim the lives of more construction workers each year than any other accident.

6. Fishers and related fishing workers

Photo: fox2now
Photo: fox2now

Fatal injury rate: 86.0 per 100k

Fatal injuries per year: 24

Most common cause of fatal injury: Transportation incidents

Mean annual salary: $31,190

Educational requirements: No formal educational credential

24 times more likely to have a fatal injury than the average worker

Members of these maritime professions are no strangers to potential harm, given the variable climate and weather conditions they might face. Commercial fishers see the second highest fatality rates on the clock due to transportation incidents. They also collect, on average, the third lowest annual wage on this list, at $31,190—but since income is often largely determined by fish yield, this number is often in flux.

7. Crossing guards

Photo: The Commercial Appeal
Photo: The Commercial Appeal

Fatal injury rate: 19 per 100,000 workers

Total deaths (2018): 14

Salary: $29,760

Most common fatal accidents: Transportation incidents

Crossing guards are responsible for the flow of pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic at crosswalks, intersections, schools, and other places where pedestrians and vehicles come into contact with one another. In this job, crossing guards may stop traffic and help to guide pedestrians safely through crossings and intersections. Crossing guards can also work to direct traffic using signs, flags, or hand signals. The most common causes of death for crossing guards are transportation incidents, which occur when vehicles hit and kill crossing guards.

8. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers

Photo: fox2now
Photo: fox2now

Fatal injury rate: 53 per 100,000 workers

Total deaths (2018): 70

Salary: $121,430

Most common fatal accidents: Transportation incidents

Aircraft pilots fly and navigate airplanes, helicopters, and other types of aircraft. In this profession, pilots are responsible for checking the condition of aircraft before and after flights, ensuring the aircraft is balanced, and planning for fuel and flight plans. Pilots also operate the aircraft, communicate with air traffic control, and monitor the aircraft’s systems during flight.

The majority of aircraft pilot fatalities occur in crashes of privately owned planes and helicopters rather than on regularly scheduled commercial jet aircraft.

9. Derrick operators in oil, gas, and mining

Photo: Petr Shelomovskiy
Photo: Petr Shelomovskiy

BLS Category: Derrick, rotary drill, and service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining

Fatal injury rate: 46 per 100,000 workers

Total deaths (2018): 20

Salary: $51,390

Most common fatal accidents: Transportation incidents, contact with objects and equipment

These oil workers setup, maintain, and operate the derrick and drill equipment used to extract oil and gas and mine for materials. The derrick is the structure above a well that holds the drilling equipment, while the drill rotates to displace the earth. The derrick may also include pumps to extract the oil or other materials from the well.

Transportation incidents and contact with objects and equipment were the two leading causes of death for these workers.

10. Roofers

Photo: The Spruce
Photo: The Spruce

Fatal injury rate: 41 per 100,000 workers

Total deaths (2018): 96

Salary: $42,100

Most common fatal accidents: Falls, slips, trips

Roofers are responsible for installing, repairing, and replacing roofs on homes and buildings. Their work involves taking roofing materials such as shingles, metal, or other materials onto roofs and securing them. Roofers generally must use ladders or other equipment to climb on top of buildings. The most common cause of fatal work injury for roofers is falling off roofs or ladders.

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11. Garbage collectors

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

BLS Category: Refuse and recyclable material collectors

Fatal injury rate: 34 per 100,000 workers

Total deaths (2018): 37

Salary: $42,100

Most common fatal accidents: Transportation incidents

Also known as garbage collectors, refuse and recyclable material collectors collect our trash and recycling. Generally, these workers will drive a truck through neighborhoods and empty garbage bins and dumpsters into the trucks. Many bins are loaded by hand while some trucks have mechanical lifters. They then drive the trucks to a landfill or waste transfer station where the waste is unloaded from the truck.

The most common cause of death for these workers is being struck by a garbage truck or other vehicle.

12. Ironworkers

Photo: fox2now
Photo: fox2now

BLS Category: Structural iron and steel workers

Fatal injury rate: 29 per 100,000 workers

Total deaths (2018): 15

Salary: $53,650

Most common fatal accidents: Falls, slips, trips

Ironworkers are responsible for installing iron and steel on buildings, bridges, and roads. Their work often consists of climbing up on large structures, unloading iron and steel, and signaling to crane operators. They also use equipment to cut, bend, and weld iron and steel. Steel and iron are some of the primary reinforcing materials for large scale buildings.

Falls are the most common fatal occupational accident for structural iron and steel workers.

13. Delivery drivers

Photo: Metrobi
Photo: Metrobi

BLS Category: Driver/sales workers and truck drivers

Fatal injury rate: 27 per 100,000 workers

Total deaths (2018): 966

Salary: $29,610

Most common fatal accidents: Transportation incidents

Delivery drivers load and unload trucks or cars and drive them to their destination within a local area. These workers generally pick up cargo, food, laundry or other items from distribution centers or stores and deliver them to homes and businesses. They also may communicate with customers to coordinate deliveries, collect payment for goods, and process paperwork such as delivery signatures.

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death on the job for driver/sales workers and truck drivers.

14. Firefighting supervisors

Photo: Cleveland Scene
Photo: Cleveland Scene

BLS Category: First-line supervisors of fire fighting and prevention workers

Fatal injury rate: 20 per 100,000 workers

Total deaths (2018): 14

Salary: $82,010

Most common fatal accidents: Transportation incidents

Firefighting supervisors are responsible for supervising and coordinating the work of firefighters. This work includes the prevention and control of fires. Some of the tasks that these supervisors perform include communicating and dispatching vehicles, evaluating fire size and condition, training and evaluating firefighters, and maintaining firefighting equipment.

The most common cause of death on the job for firefighting supervisors is traffic crashes, followed by fires and explosions.

15. Power linemen

Photo: thecoolist
Photo: thecoolist

BLS Category: Electrical power-line installers and repairers

Fatal injury rate: 20 per 100,000 workers

Total deaths (2018): 29

Salary: $71,960

Most common fatal accidents: Exposure to harmful substances or environments

Power linemen are responsible for installing and maintaining overhead and underground power lines that supply electricity to homes and businesses. In this job, these workers drive power maintenance equipment to job sites, climb electrical poles or use bucket trucks, and test, install, or otherwise maintain electrical equipment.

The most common cause of death for power linemen is death from electrocution.

Injured in a Workplace Accident?

If you or a loved one suffered a serious workplace injury or fatality, you may be entitled to compensation over and above workers’ compensation benefits. Some accidents are caused by parties other than the employer, such as a third-party subcontractor, another driver, or the maker of a dangerous or defective product. There may also be instances when a workplace injury is caused by the deliberate actions of the employer, in which case you might be able to sue them directly.

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