America’s most dangerous jobs


In the United States, most on-the-job deaths occur in the trucking industry, but a handful of workplaces have a higher fatality rate. These are the most dangerous jobs by death rate, calculated as the number of fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers in the given occupation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Fishing and hunting workers face the highest death rate, with 132.1 deaths per 100,000 full time-workers. These workers are primarily engaged in catching and trapping various types of animal life, bringing them into many challenging and hazardous conditions. (42 workers killed in 2020)
  • Logging workers are killed at a rate of 91.7 deaths per 100,000 workers. With heavy machinery and constant outdoors work in sometimes isolated areas, hazards abound. (42 workers killed in 2020)
  • Roofers have a death rate of 47.0 deaths per 100,000 workers. It’s a physically demanding job and inherently involves heights and the risk of falls – which are the second leading cause of workplace death. (88 workers killed in 2020)
  • Construction laborers and helpers are killed on the job at a rate of 43.3 deaths per 100,000 workers. These workers do all manner of physical labor on construction sites, putting them in danger of falls and other hazards. (19 deaths in 2020)
  • Aircraft pilots and flight engineers have a workplace fatality rate of 34.3 deaths per 100,000 workers. Almost all the fatalities for 2020 were due to aircraft crashes. (50 deaths in 2020)
  • Refuse and recyclable material collectors have a fatality rate of 33.1 deaths per 100,000 workers. They work around trucks, heavy machinery like balers and conveyors, and there’s a lot of manual labor involved. (30 deaths in 2020)
  • Structural iron and steel workers are killed at a rate of 32.5 per 100,000 workers. They perform physically demanding construction work, often at great heights, putting them at particular risk for falls. (16 deaths in 2020)
  • Truck drivers, including delivery/sales drivers all the way up to long-haul truck drivers, have a workplace death rate of 25.8 per 100,000 workers, but they have the highest death toll of any job, with 887 fatalities reported in 2020. The majority of deaths are due to transportation incidents.
  • Underground mining machine operators have a death rate of 21.6 per 100,000 workers. They work underground in mines, around a lot of heavy equipment. Most of the fatalities involve contact with equipment or another object. (10 deaths in 2020)
  • Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers have a death rate of 20.9 per 100,000 workers. They typically work outdoors, sometimes using heavy machinery and chemicals. Most of the 2020 deaths involved transportation or contact with equipment. (207 deaths in 2020)

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