The 10 Most Hazardous Jobs in America
Over the decade ending in 2010, fatalities on the job decreased by some 23 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2010, 4,547 workers died while on the job, which seems like a lot until you realize that in 2000 there were 5,915 work-related fatalities. Despite safety improvements, there are still occupations that continue to stand out as the most dangerous in America. The Bureau of Labor Statistics earmarked the following jobs as exceptionally hazardous.
#1= most dangerous Occupation Average number of deaths per 100,000 workers per year 1 Fisherman 200 2 Logger 61.8 3 Aircraft Pilot 57.1 4 Farmer/Rancher 38.5 5 Roofer 34.7 6 Structural Iron/Steel Worker 30.3 7 Refuse Collector 25.2 8 Industrial Machinery Maintenance Worker 18.5 9 Truck Driver 18.3 10 Construction Worker 18.3
What makes these 10 jobs so dangerous?
Let’s take a closer look at each of these occupations to find out why they are so deadly to workers.
Drowning is always a possibility when you are being tossed about on the high seas. Add to that the hazards of maneuvering and hauling huge, heavy nets and slippery cages while slogging across decks wet from heavy rain or made treacherous by frozen sea water. It’s easy to see why this is America’s most deadly job.
Logger Imagine the challenges inherent in operating a heavy chainsaw while suspended far above the ground. Then, think of the danger of massive trees falling close by and then maneuvering them through logging machines equipped with razor sharp cutting edges. If these hazards were not enough of a challenge, workers are typically far from health care facilities, which can make a critical emergency twice as ominous.
We’re not talking so much about major commercial airline pilots, but rather about those courageous individuals who perform crop dusting, banner towing, bush flying, and small craft aviation. Often the bush and crop dusting pilots, in particular, fly very close to the ground, leaving little opportunity to correct course if something goes terribly wrong.
Working with heavy machinery used to plant, tend, and harvest crops is one of the most dangerous aspects of the farmer/rancher’s job. Each year someone gets crushed or rundown in an accident. Livestock also present perils. It’s easy to get kicked or trampled by even a small herd of animals. Farm pesticides and other chemicals also combine to make the farmer’s job one of many hazards.
These men and women work at great heights, at steep inclines, and often on slippery surfaces. On top of that, they are working with heavy materials often without any safety equipment. It is backbreaking hard work often done in wind and extreme heat. Fatigue is an enemy that constantly threatens the workers’ safety.
Structural Iron/Steel Worker
Walking along narrow metal planks high above a cement floor is always dangerous. Add to that the worry of falling metal debris and the situation is definitely life threatening on a daily basis.
Ever take a look at what garbage collectors have to deal with? Hauling heavy cans, dodging hazardous materials, sharp objects, and ungainly items people discard is extremely challenging, especially at the pace at which workers travel through neighborhoods. Add to that the risks associated with hanging off a moving truck and working with metal-crushing compacting equipment and you have all the makings of a dangerous job.
Industrial Machinery Maintenance Worker
Machines that are designed to bend metal can wreak havoc with a human form in seconds. There are the added possibilities of fire, explosions, and chemical exposure the workers have to continually be prepared to avoid.
Anyone who has been on America’s freeways for an extended trip understands the dangers truckers face every day on the job. Long, boring hours; difficult traffic snarls; and fatigue that accompanies cross country driving make driving a truck a hazardous occupation.
Imagine working on girders high above ground or several stories beneath it. Such is the work environment of the construction worker. Add to that the hazardous materials, heavy equipment, and power tools that are often part of the worksite and you have all the ingredients of a job with built-in peril.
There are dangers inherent in any job, and despite the best efforts of OSHA, unions, and employers to regulate workplace safety, there will continue to be injuries sustained on in America’s places of employment.