10 of the Most Dangerous Jobs in the U.S.


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From the relatively exotic to the seemingly mundane, certain occupations carry an underlying danger that can reach up to 127 fatalities per 100,000 workers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' most recent figures, there were 4,693 fatal occupational injuries in 2011, 146 more than reported in 2010. The majority of these injuries occur in a handful of sectors representing the most dangerous ways to earn a living in the country. Median annual salaries also come courtesy of the BLS.
And with these risky jobs, many might think life insurance is out of the question, but it isn’t, it just might cost a bit more.

1. Job: Fishing

Risk factors: The producers of “Deadliest Catch” don't need to create much artificial drama, as fishers and fishing workers have -- on average -- the most dangerous jobs in the country. Malfunctioning gear, inclement weather and transportation incidents all factor into the highest fatality rate, a distinction it has held since 1992.

Fatality rate: 127.3 per 100,000 workers, 42 total

Median annual salary: $25,590

2. Job: Logging workers

Risk factors: Total logging fatalities in the U.S. increased from 59 to 65 from 2010 to 2011. Dangers are apparent when spending most of your days outside with heavy machinery, frequently bad weather and occasional high altitudes.

Fatality rate: 104 per 100,000 workers, 65 total

Median annual salary: $32,870

3. Job: Aircraft pilots and flight engineers

Risk factors:
Though pilots are often financially compensated for the inherent dangers and responsibilities of their jobs, no amount of money can change the fact that it's a long way down.

Fatality rate: 56.1 per 100,000 workers, 71 total

Median annual salary: $118,070 airline, $92,060 commercial

4. Job: Refuse and recyclable material collectors

Risk factors:
Trash and recyclable collectors don't get enough credit for maintaining order in society. Trash collector strikes are never a pretty thing and neither is the high fatality rate.

Fatality rate: 36.4 per 100,000 workers, 30 total

Median annual salary: $35,230

5. Job: Roofers

Risk factors:
It doesn't take a history in roofing to know that the biggest danger is not sunburns or hammered fingers. Falls are the leading culprit in fatal injuries, while other nonfatal injuries like fractures make general construction work among the most injury-prone jobs.

Fatality rate: 34.1 per 100,000 workers, 60 total

Median annual salary: $34,220

6. Job: Structural iron and steel workers

Risk factors:
Structural iron and steel workers install iron or steel beams and use cranes to lift said beams. Ironworkers have one of the highest rates of injuries of all occupations, according to the BLS.

Fatality rate: 30.3 per 100,000 workers, 18 total

Median annual salary:

7. Job: Helpers, construction trades

Risk factors:
Construction laborers and helpers do physically demanding work, and have one of the highest rates of injuries. They clean and prepare construction sites, dig trenches, build scaffolding and operate construction equipment. Not for the faint of heart.

Fatality rate: 26.8 per 100,000 workers, 15 total

Median annual salary: From $23,320 for roofer helpers, up to $27,780 for brick masons.

8. Job: Farmers, ranchers and agricultural managers

Risk factors:
Working the land may be one of the oldest professions, but new efficient technology has done little to make the job any safer. Long hours and close, consistent contact with heavy machinery and equipment represent the bulk of injuries and fatalities on the job, which is largely represented by transportation incidents.

Fatality rate: 26.1 per 100,000 workers; 268 total

Median annual salary: $60,750

9. Job: Truck drivers

Risk factors:
Incredibly long hours and quick turnarounds complicate an already dangerous situation with a truck of up to 40 tons in highway settings. Highway crashes are the leading cause of death.

Fatality rate: 25.9 per 100,000 workers, 485 total

Median annual salary: $38,200 for heavy truck drivers

10. Job: Natural resources and mining

Risk factors:
This job requires long hours working outdoors, sometimes in remote locations for long periods of time.

Fatality rate: 22.1 per 100,000 workers, 721 total

Median annual salary: $54,020

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' most recent figures, there were 4,693 fatal occupational injuries in 2011, 146 more than reported in 2010. The majority of these injuries occur in a handful of sectors representing the most dangerous ways to earn a living in the country.


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