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The most dangerous jobs in America

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2021 | Workers' compensation |

Every year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts together a list of the most dangerous jobs in the nation. In this post to our Louisville Workers’ Compensation Law Blog, we’re going to examine the list and dive into the industries that have the most fatal injuries to workers and then separate the statistics by age, event and gender.

In this way, we hope to shed a bit of light on not only the most hazardous jobs, but also which occupations are least likely to result in on-the-job injuries that require medical attention and Kentucky workers’ compensation benefits.

Top 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S.

  1. Fishers and fishing workers. Though this is listed by the BLS as the most dangerous U.S. job, it’s an occupation that doesn’t apply to Louisville.
  2. Logging workers. This industry is going strong in Kentucky, though overall it’s in decline around the nation. There were 69 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time employees in 2019 (the most recent year for which statistics are available.)
  3. Pilots and flight engineers. With 61.8 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time employees, this occupation – a vital job here due to UPS and passenger flights – is the highest paid of the 10 listed (flight engineers average $121,000 per year).
  4. Roofers. 54 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time workers. Average annual salary: $42,000.
  5. Construction trade helpers. 40 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time workers.
  6. Refuse and recyclable material collectors. 35.2 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time workers. Average annual salary: $37,000 per year.
  7. Drivers and truck drivers. The second-lowest paid occupation at $32,000 per year had 26.8 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time employees.
  8. Structural iron and steelworkers. There were 3 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time workers in 2019. Pay: $55,000 per year.
  9. Farmers, ranchers, agricultural managers. With 23.2 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time workers. Pay: $71,000.
  10. Ground maintenance workers. The lowest-paid workers on the list earned an average of $30,000 per year.

Event types

It should be noted that there a worker died somewhere in the U.S. every 99 minutes in 2019. There were 5,333 work-related fatalities that year in one of six types of events:

  • Transportation (40 percent of all work-related fatalities)
  • Falls, slips, trips (11 percent)
  • Violence
  • Contact with objects or equipment
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environment
  • Fires and explosions

Age and gender differences

BLS says the age group most at risk in 2019 was those ages 55 to 64, with 1,212 fatalities. The age group with the fewest fatal injuries: under 16 and 16-17 years old, both with 17 fatal injuries.

Construction had the most fatal work injuries in 2019, with 1,061. Transportation was not far behind, with 913.

According to BLS, men and women are generally at equal risk of sustaining fatal workplace injuries, with men at higher risk of death related to contact with objects and equipment, while women are much more likely to be victims of violence at work.

No matter what type of work you do, it’s important to you and your family that you receive full, fair workers’ comp benefits when you sustain a workplace injury.