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The Most Dangerous Jobs in America, Part 1 of 2

Some jobs are more dangerous than others. We have written often in this blog about the dangers of construction work. What about other dangerous occupations?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that in 2012, the last year for which there are complete statistics, there were 4, 628 workplace deaths across the United States - an average of about 3.2 deaths per 100,000. However, some occupations have fatality rates that are much higher than this average

The job of fisherman, for example, has a fatality rate 36 times the average - 117 per 100,000 workers. These deaths are caused primarily by vessel disaster such as explosion, sinking or collision. However, other fatalities result from falling overboard, slipping and falling onboard and injury on the dock or other onshore injury. The fishing industry is also responsible for around 49,000 job-related injuries each year.

Another dangerous occupation, that of airline pilot and flight engineer, has a fatality rate of 53.4 per 100,000. Pilots and flight engineers are killed by equipment problems as well as plane crashes. In addition, there are about 27,000 non-fatal injuries each year in the aviation industry.

Pilots and fishermen are relatively small occupational categories, accounting in part for the high fatality rates. In contrast, the construction industry employs a significant number of workers and has a relatively high fatality rate, 17.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. Falls, slips and trips cause most construction fatalities, with roadways and equipment-related deaths accounting for another large percentage of construction fatalities.

Farming, thought by some to be a bucolic, peaceful job, is also a significant source of workplace fatalities. Farmers and ranchers have a workplace fatality rate of 21.3 deaths per 100,000, most of these coming from equipment and roadway accidents.

Of the major occupational job classifications, truck driving is one of the most dangerous, with 22.1 fatalities per 100,000 workers. These numbers include drivers of tractor-trailers as well as light truck and delivery drivers.

Are workers in these dangerous jobs adequately compensated for the risks involved? Our next blog post will investigate how much workers in these dangerous industries are paid for putting their lives on the line.

Source: Personal Finance Cheat Sheet: "Price of Risk: How Well Do the 5 Most Dangerous Jobs Pay?" Jun. 28, 2014.