What Are the Deadliest Jobs in America?

Small business research group AdvisorSmith compiled a list of the deadliest occupations using data made available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The study was conducted using the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, which is produced by the BLS annually to record the number of on-the-job deaths broken down by job function. The report also used the bureau’s Current Population Survey and the Occupational Employment Statistics Survey to identify how many people worked in each occupation. The study focused on professions with a minimum of 50,000 workers, which resulted in a group of 263 occupations qualifying to be included. To standardize the results, the fatalities were recorded in terms of how many deaths occurred per 100,000 workers in each occupation. Using work fatality figures recorded in 2019, the study is produced a list of the 25 most dangerous jobs in America.

According to the study, the jobs that make up the 25 deadliest jobs are listed below.

Top 10 Deadliest Jobs

The following jobs have the distinction of being the top 10 deadliest jobs in the United States:

Logging workers. At the top of the list of deadly jobs is logging. This profession showed a fatality rate that was 21 times greater than the average job in the United States. Logging workers died at a rate of 70 per 100,000 workers. There were 46 loggers who lost their lives to industrial accidents in 2019. The most common such accident was contact with objects and equipment.

Aircraft pilots and flight engineers. The profession associated with the second most deaths is held by aircraft pilots and flight engineers, which account for 60 worker deaths per 100,000 personnel. These jobs include not only commercial pilots, but also operators of smaller aircraft such as privately owned planes and helicopters. In all, 85 of these workers were killed in 2019. The accident type that most commonly caused death is transportation accidents.

Roofers. Roofers hold jobs that round out the top three most deadly jobs in the United States, which recorded a fatality rate of 50 per 100,000 workers. With 111 deaths in 2019, roofers were at risk of falling from dangerous heights. The fatal accident type most commonly experienced in this job caused deadly injuries from falls, slips, and trips.

Construction helpers. With a job-related fatality rate of 40 per 100,000 workers, helpers in construction trades were at highest risk from falls, slips, and trips on the worksite. Twenty of these workers were lost in 2019.

Crossing guards. With a fatality rate of 38 per 100,000 workers, crossing guards are included in the top five most dangerous jobs. In 2019, 20 crossing guards died of accidents on the job. These workers were most at risk for transportation accidents, specifically being hit by motor vehicles as they direct traffic and assist pedestrians crossing dangerous intersections and crosswalks.

Garbage collectors. With a fatal injury rate of 31 per 100,000 workers, people who collect refuse and recyclable materials are at great occupational risk. In 2019, a total of 31 workers died of incidents in these professions, the most common of which was transportation accidents, such as being struck by a garbage truck or other vehicle.

Farming supervisors. Categorized by the BLS as first-line supervisors of farming, fishing, and forestry workers, these workers lost 29 per 100,000 of their own to work accidents, accounting for 15 fatalities in 2019, most commonly owing to transportation incidents.

Delivery drivers. Owing to a large population of workers in this job, the total deaths of 28 per 100,000 workers does not do justice to the significant amount of people who lose their lives in this line of work, which includes driver and sales workers as well as truck drivers. In 2019, a total of 1,005 delivery drivers were killed on the job, mostly in transportation accidents.

Ironworkers. Also called structural iron and steel workers, ironworkers died of work incidents at a rate of 27 per 100,000 workers, accounting for 18 deaths in 2019 owing in large part to falls, slips, and trips.

Farmers. With 238 deaths in 2019 among farmers, this category of worker accounts for a significant number of fatalities across the country because of high numbers of workers in this field. With a fatality rate of 25 per 100,000, laborers in this category are made up of farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers. The most common cause of workplace death among these workers is transportation incidents.

Other Professions on the Deadliest Jobs List

Beyond the top 10, the occupations also listed among the 25 most deadly jobs include the following:

  • Cement masons suffered a fatal accident rate of 22 per 100,000 workers, accounting for 14 deaths in 2019.
  • Agricultural workers, 181 of whom died in 2019, were lost to occupational accidents at a rate of 21 per 100,000 workers.
  • Construction supervisors died at a rate of 20 per 100,000 workers from workplace incidents, amounting to 136 deaths in 2019.
  • Highway maintenance workers were fatally injured in on-the-job transportation accidents at a rate of 19 per 100,000 workers. Twenty-one workers in this category died in work-related accidents in 2019.
  • Grounds maintenance workers died in work accidents at a rate of 18 per 100,000 workers, making up 229 fatalities in 2019.
  • Mining machine operators made up 10 workplace fatalities in 2019. The fatal injury rate among this group was 18 per 100,000 workers.
  • Supervisor of mechanics is the job title held by workers who were lost at a rate of 16 per 100,000 workers, totaling 44 deaths in 2019.
  • Power-line workers died at a rate of 15 per 100,000 workers. Twenty power line workers died on the job in 2019.
  • Construction workers were subject to a fatality rate of 14 per 100,000 workers. A total of 293 construction workers died in 2019 as a result of job accidents.
  • Construction equipment operators, who handle bulldozers, forklifts, and other equipment, suffered a fatality rate of 14 per 100,000 workers. Fifty-two of these workers were lost in work accidents in 2019.
  • Maintenance workers, among whom the fatality rate was 13 per 100,000 workers, lost 78 workers in total in 2019.
  • Heavy vehicle mechanics were also lost at a rate of 13 per 100,000 workers. Work fatalities in this group totaled 27.
  • Crane operators, a BLS category that also includes tower operators, lost eight workers in 2019. The fatality injury rate was 13 per 100,000 workers.
  • Landscaping supervisors died at a rate of 12 per 100,000 as a result of work injuries. This occupation lost 35 workers in 2019.
  • Police officers also made the list of the top 25 most deadly jobs in the United States. Police officers are threatened by a work-related death rate of 12 per 100,000 workers. Eighty-six police officers died as a result of job-related injuries in 2019.

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