Ten Deadliest Jobs

Crab Fisherman# 10: Electrical power-line installers and repairers

Fatalities per 100k: 15.6

Fatalities in 2011: 21

The biggest cause of death for electrical power-line installers and repairers is exposure to hazardous substances, workplace falls, and electrocution. The median annual salary for power-line workers in 2008 was $55,100.

# 9: Police officers

Fatalities per 100k: 18.0

Fatalities in 2011: 133

Transportation incidents are the leading cause of death for police and sheriff patrol officers, but assault and violent acts also accounted for 53 American fatalities in 2010.

In May 2010, the median hourly wage for police officers was $25.74.

# 8: Truck drivers

Fatalities per 100k: 21.8

Fatalities in 2011: 683

Truck drivers deal with long hours and narrow profit margins, which create situations leading to accidents. Median hourly wages vary: for heavy truck drivers working long shifts, earning were $17.92 in May 2008; for light truck or delivery truck drivers, $13.27; and for drivers/sales workers, it was $10.70.

# 7: Garbage and recycling collectors

Fatalities per 100k: 22.8

Fatalities in 2011: 26

Nearly all of the deaths for refuse and recyclable material collectors occur in transportation incidents. The mean hourly wage for the profession is $16.50.

# 6: Roofers

Fatalities per 100k: 32.4

Fatalities in 2011: 57

As you’d probably expect for a profession that involves working at heights, the most common cause of death for roofers is falls. In May 2008, the median hourly wage for roofers was $16.17.

# 5: Coal mining

Fatalities per 100k: 38.9

Fatalities in 2011: 43

The media tends to cover coal miners deaths when mine shafts collapse, but fatalities also occur many years after work is performed, often far from the source itself as worker’s succumb to occupational illness. The most common form of this workplace illness is Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung disease. The median hourly wage for those in the coal mining industry is $23.11.

# 4: Farmers and ranchers

Fatalities per 100k: 41.4

Fatalities in 2011: 300

Because of machinery and difficulties moving animals and equipment that farmers and ranchers face each day, transportation incidents are the leading cause of death. Contact with objects and equipment also causes a significant number of fatalities—about one third.

# 3: Aircraft pilots and flight engineers

Fatalities per 100k: 70.6

Fatalities in 2011: 78

Flight accidents claimed the lives of 76 American aircraft pilots and flight engineers in 2011, including crashes. Unlike many other jobs on this list, the earning potential for pilots is high—the median annual salary for airline pilots and flight engineers is was $111,680, and for commercial pilots it was $65,340.

# 2: Logging workers

Fatalities per 100k: 91.9

Fatalities in 2011: 59

The most common cause of death for loggers is contact with objects or equipment—both trees that are being cut and the logging instruments themselves. The median hourly wages for logging workers ranges from $14.66 to $15.96.

# 1: Fishers and related fishing workers

Fatalities per 100k: 116

Fatalities in 2011: 29

For fishers and fishing-related workers, the most common cause of death is transportation incidents, though about 30% of deaths are caused by drowning. Also, for the most dangerous job in the U.S, wages are low: the median hourly wage is currently only $12.30.


Emery Reddy