Most of us don’t go to work worrying about our safety. If anything, the commute there is much more dangerous than what we do for a living.
But that isn’t true for everyone. Some Americans have hazardous jobs where injury and even death are a real possibility anytime you clock in for a shift. If you take a look at Business Insider’s list of the riskiest jobs it includes dozens of occupations.
Anyone working in these occupations should seriously consider increased insurance coverage, including life insurance, because the number of fatalities on the job has increased in recent years. Advanced funeral planning and creating a last will and testament are also musts.
The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2019 the total number of fatal work injuries was up to 5,333.
#10 – Grounds Maintenance Workers
20 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time workers
229 total fatal work injuries in 2019
Taking care of a property or the grounds of a larger space requires machinery that can be dangerous. Falls are another significant hazard of the job, but driving all that equipment to different locations is the biggest danger. This job actually has a slightly higher fatality rate than the previous year.
#9 – Agriculture Managers, Farmers and Ranchers
23 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time workers
238 total fatal work injuries in 2019
Heavy machinery is one of the biggest threats for ranchers and farmers in the agriculture industry. It’s a very physically demanding job that can get dangerous if a worker is fatigued. Transportation accidents also increase the risk of the job. The good news is, being a farmer or rancher was actually safer in 2019 compared to 2018.
#8 – Structural Iron and Steel Workers
26 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time workers
18 total fatal work injuries in 2019
While the number of total fatalities is much lower than other occupations, the risk of death is much higher. Given the number of people who do this kind of work, 18 deaths is actually high. Slips, trips and falls are the number one cause of death for structural iron and steel workers.
#7 – Drivers
27 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time workers
1,005 total fatal work injuries in 2019
Both the fatal work injury rate and total number of deaths for drivers was up in 2019. If you have to get behind the wheel of a vehicle for your work, then you’re automatically at more risk than the average worker. The clear danger here is the increased likelihood of being in an automobile accident.
#6 – Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors
35 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time workers
31 total fatal work injuries in 2019
Not only are refuse and recyclable collectors driving around, they are also working around heavy machinery all day. But in the U.S. the fatality rate was way lower than in 2018, when the rate stood at 44.3.
#5 – Construction Trade Helpers
40 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time workers
20 total fatal work injuries in 2019
Construction trade helpers jumped way up the list in 2019. The number of fatalities nearly doubled from 2018, with slips and falls the most likely cause of a fatal injury.
#4 – Roofers
54 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time workers
111 total fatal work injuries in 2019
Falls are one of the top hazards on the job, which is why roofers are number four on the list of most dangerous jobs. Unfortunately, roofing has become a more hazardous occupation with a year-over-year increase in both the fatality rate and total number of deaths.
#3 – Pilots and Flight Engineers
62 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time workers
85 total fatal work injuries in 2019
Of course, with this occupation transportation incidents are the primary cause of death. This is another occupation that saw a sharp uptick in work-related fatalities in 2019.
#2 – Logging
69 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time workers
46 total fatal work injuries in 2019
Getting all those trees for lumber and paper products is risky business. By some estimates, being a logger is 33 times more dangerous than the average job in the U.S. The job involves heavy equipment and heights – a dangerous combination in any work environment.
#1 – Fishing
145 fatal work injuries per 100,000 full-time workers
44 total fatal work injuries in 2019
In 2019, fishing officially unseated logging as the most dangerous occupation in America. The BLS’s data shows that fishers had the highest rate of fatal work injuries by far. Drowning is the most serious occupational hazard. Boating accidents are the biggest reason fatalities occur.
*This list and the data it includes is based on the latest information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The data includes occupations with 50,000+ workers.