America's Ten Most Dangerous Jobs

by Miranda Marquit

Most people don't think of their jobs as something that could kill them. However, some jobs are more dangerous than others. When you work in certain professions, you could run the risk of death almost every day.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles information about the jobs we do, and this includes identifying the most dangerous jobs. The BLS rates jobs for their risk by using a ratio illustrating the number of deaths in a profession and the total number of people employed in that profession. The 10 most dangerous jobs, according to 2007 BLS data, are:

10. Law Enforcement Patrol Officers

Image source: Marc Love

Police and sheriff patrol officers are in danger, due in large part to the types of people that they could encounter. Law enforcement officers are more likely than the general population to come in contact with violent criminals, including those carrying guns. On top of that, there are hazards associated sometimes driving at high speeds to reach emergency sites, or the pursuit of criminals.

9. Waste Collectors

Those who collect garbage and recyclable materials find themselves at hazard from their work with large, sometimes dangerous equipment. There is a risk of injury or death due to the equipment operated, as well as concerns about the waste itself, and the way it's disposed of.

8. Truck Drivers

Image source: Leo Reynolds

As you might imagine, the amount of time a truck driver spends on the road means that he or she is at a greater risk of being involved in an auto accident. Often, truck drivers are moving at relatively high speeds, since they usually drive on interstates and highways. Some of most dangerous truck routes, though, are those that involve ice road trucking.

7. Electrical Power Line Installation and Repair

We know that electricity has an awesome power. It makes our lives convenient, but we also know that it can be dangerous. Those who work installing power lines, and those who repair them, do rather dangerous jobs. Obviously, such workers are in danger of deadly electric shock, but they are also at risk due to falls from heights, as well as from some of the heavy equipment they work around.

6. Roofers

Many of us don't consider roofing overly dangerous. After all, many of us have climbed up on the roof to hang strands of holiday lights. However, these occasional forays do not compare with the almost daily work that roofers do above the ground. Danger from falls is probably the biggest risk associated with roofing jobs.

5. Farmers and Ranchers

Image source: Switzerland County (IN) Tourism

When we think of farmers and ranchers, we often picture an idyllic setting, involving green fields and cut animals. However, farming and ranching are physically taxing, and can be quite dangerous. Ranchers often work with huge animals that can cause injury. Farmers usually work with heavy equipment that can maim or kill during an accident. Both farmers and ranchers can be in danger from exposure to the elements, including the dehydration and fatigue characterizing long, hot days working in the summer sun.

4. Structural Iron and Steel Workers

Since most structural iron and steel workers are involved with building tall buildings, it's little surprise that they are in danger from falls. Even though they are supposed to use safety harnesses, not all of these workers do so. Additionally, there are dangers associated with falling beams and other objects.

3. Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers

Image source: Esthr

When you work around a large piece of equipment designed to fly thousands of feet above the ground, it's no surprise that pilots and flight engineers are at risk. In addition to the possibility of a fiery plummet from the sky, there are also accidents associated with being on the ground. Working around planes increases the chances of injury and death, since a number of things can go wrong.

2. Loggers

Logging is something that we consider a part of a past century. However, we still need the wood provided by trees, and that means we need loggers. As you might imagine, loggers face many perils. They are in the woods, far from medical help. Accidents, from being crushed by massive trees to severed limbs due to mistakes with chainsaws, happen - and it is hard to have such injuries treated when it can hours to reach a hospital.

1. Fishers

Image source: aktraildog

Like loggers, fishers often perform their work far from medical aid. Fishers run the risk of injury from the equipment they have on board ship, as well as the risk that comes with drowning. Additionally, fishers face the possibility of being dashed to pieces during an unexpected storm. When you consider the number of deaths related to commercial fishing, and compare that to how many fishers there are, it's really not a stretch to consider this the most dangerous job.

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{ 2 comment… read it below or add one }

Michael October 28th, 2010
I am surprised that miners are not part of the top 10. Of course law enforcement would top the list. Falling is the easiest thing to do, I do it all the time. and apparently so do a lot of others. Also Fishing surprises me, it does not seem that fraught with danger, but of course an insurance actuary would know.lol
The Padrino December 15th, 2010
Wonder if being a hooker is a dangerous job?

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