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The 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in the U.S.


While there are some jobs that require sitting down in front of a computer screen for eight hours a day, there are others where the inherent danger of injury or fatality is an everyday reality. The data was collected by the U.S. Census, Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Along with the statistics, our New York City workers’ compensation attorney offers advice on how to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities regarding each type of occupation.

The following are the 10 most dangerous jobs in the United States:

  • Construction workers – Whether it’s working at great heights or outdoors in extreme weather conditions, construction is physically demanding. Out of the 4,585 on-the-job fatalities in 2013, 828 – or 18% – were from the construction industry. Falls were the leading cause of death, followed by being struck by objects, electrocutions and being caught in between objects.
    • Advice: Workers should always inspect tools and equipment prior to use. At the end of each day, they should pack up and adequately store equipment, preventing others from tripping over them and causing an injury.
  • Agricultural workers – 113 people, less than 20 years old, die annual from farm-related injuries on average. Most of these fatal injuries involved heavy machinery and motor vehicles.
    • Advice: Tractors should all be equipped with Roll-Over Protective Structures (ROPS) to prevent overturns and rollovers. Don’t’ wear loose clothing around work area or equipment.
  • Truck drivers – In 2014, large trucks were involved in 137,730 crashes in the United States, resulting in 70,257 injuries and 4,033 deaths. Truck drivers are allowed to drive up to 11 hours per stretch and up to 77 hours over a week. However, statistics have indicated that many drivers work longer than required.
    • Advice: Drivers should thoroughly check their vehicle each day before they embark on their journey. Since about 1/3 of all fatal work-zone accidents involve large trucks, drivers should always take their time going through interstate construction.
  • Mining machine operators – Miners face many dangers such as cave-ins, flooding, elevator problems, lung and respiratory disease due to the particles floating around in mines.
    • Advice: Always wear protective gear and be alert for any emanate danger, such as cave collapses.
  • Trash collectors – The main contributor to deaths is the garbage truck itself, since hazardous materials such as broken glass, medical waste, corrosive chemicals, and diseases may accompany solid waste. Inhaling these fumes and place trash collectors at greater risk of injury.
    • Advice: Workers must be careful when handling refuse, by wearing gloves and masks. Check mirrors of the truck before backing up and communicate with the workers on foot whenever the vehicle is in motion.
  • Power Workers – With the responsibility of installing and repairing electrical cables or wires, this job has suffered more fatalities than both firemen and police officers. Workers must constantly face towering heights and massive surges of electricity.
    • Advice: Always ground equipment, since workers are typically injured or killed when equipment contacts distribution lines and linemen on the ground are in contact with that equipment. It’s also best to be thoroughly educated about this profession, or else mistakes can be fatal.
  • Roofers – Roofers face a plethora of threats, such as burns, falling from heights, and injuries from equipment.
    • Advice: Always wear a safety harness when working. Be aware of the weather, such as strong winds and thunderstorms.
  • Aircraft Pilots – Pilots have a great risk of fatality during takeoff and landing. Those who pilot private planes have higher death rates, since they’re not as well maintained compared to big commercial planes.
    • Advice: Have a checklist to look over before taking off. When they’re approaching inclement weather, it’s best to avoid the chance of putting the lives of themselves and passengers at risk.
  • Fishers – Fishers can fall victim to the elements when they’re working in open water. Fatalities can occur after a vessel disaster, falling overboard and an injury onboard.
    • Advice: Practice drills monthly, including how to abandon ship, deal with flooding, fire and a man going overboard. Always wear a PFD, no matter what the circumstances are.
  • Logging workers – Since 2009, the death rate for loggers has more than doubled. Due to the boom in new home construction, the industry is forced to hire more inexperienced workers who are more susceptible to accidents.
    • Advice: Always wear protective gear and learn how to properly operate a chainsaw and how to maintain its peak efficiency. Ensure all tools have been inspected and are in perfect condition.

For more information, contact our New York City workers compensation attorney to discuss if you’re covered and your options.

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