Employee Beware: The Ten Most Dangerous Jobs in America
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Although Deadliest Catch may make for compelling TV and high ratings, the reality for those such as commercial fishermen who face deadly vocationally-based hazards on a regular basis remains bleak. While we may be inclined to see fishing, logging, or flying planes as exhilarating and exciting occupations, the inherent risk for those employed in these sectors might shock you.
With an hours-based fatality rate of 203.6, fishing and fishing-related workers face the highest job fatality risk by far, trailed by logging workers with a rate of 65.5.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) routinely gathers data on various occupations, ranging from job salaries to career forecast information, publishing annual statistical reports. The BLS Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) contains data on fatal work-related injury.
The most recent complete report, for 2010, does show lower figures than in past years, offering hope for safer occupational practices. 2010 saw 4,547 workplace fatalities, a significant improvement over just 5 years prior, with 5,734 deaths. However, we continue to see the same industries and same occupations topping the list. If you’re looking for a safe workplace, steer clear of the top 10 most dangerous jobs.
Table of ten most dangerous jobs, by hours-based fatality rate
A more detailed look at the top 5 most dangerous jobs in America:
1. Fishers and related fishing workers
Commercial fishing remains the industry with the top fatality rate. This is due to hazardous weather conditions, poorly constructed ships, large storms, disease, and dangers associated with industrial fishing equipment.
- More than half of all fatalities (279, 51%) occurred after a vessel disaster
- Another 170 (31%) fatalities occurred when a fisherman fell overboard
Beside the obvious risk of being crushed beneath a falling tree, heavy industrial machinery used in logging causes a number of serious injuries and fatalities every year. Weather variability and poor conditions exacerbate the threat. OSHA states:
Tools and equipment such as chain saws and logging machines pose hazards wherever they are used. As loggers use their tools and equipment, they deal with massive weights and irresistible momentum of falling, rolling, and sliding trees and logs. The hazards are more acute when dangerous environmental conditions are factored in, such as uneven, unstable or rough terrain; inclement weather including rain, snow, lightning, winds, and extreme cold and/or remote and isolated work sites where health care facilities are not immediately accessible.
3. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
The sheer amount of time pilots spend in the air is one of the main reasons that this occupation is the third most dangerous. In order to get a job in the industry, thousands of hours of training and flight experience are required, which heightens the chance of something going awry.
This category also includes commercial pilots of smaller aircraft, including crop dusters, helicopters, and air taxis, that are far more likely to crash than larger passenger aircraft.
4. Extraction workers
A broad occupational category, extraction occupations involve mostly mining and drilling-based work. Much like farming, extraction work frequently involves dangerous machinery.
Another risk factor is the removal and transport of dangerous material, such as hazardous waste, toxic asbestos, or nuclear waste.
Mining, in particular, holds the added risk of tunnel collapse, cause of a number of fatalities each year.
5. Farmers and ranchers
The uncertainty of raising livestock, growing crops, and predicting profits, and long hours of physical labor in a wide variety of weather conditions cause this job to be one of the most emotionally burdensome occupations. This stressful toll manifests with hypertension, nervous disorders, heart disease, and ulcers. Additionally, heavy machinery regularly used in this industry is the cause of many serious injuries and deaths.
If this leaves you yearning for a new, safer job, look through the best job sites to find the right place to post your resume, find employment opportunities, and apply for jobs.
Guest post prepared by Kelsey Hennegen, Writing & PR, FindTheBest.