10 of the most dangerous jobs in the US
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More than 4,800 annual workplace deaths
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From the relatively exotic to the seemingly mundane, certain occupations carry an underlying danger that can reach up to 110.9 fatalities per 100,000 workers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent figures, there were 4,821 fatal occupational injuries in 2014 (the latest figures available), 239 (5%) more than reported in 2013. The majority of these injuries occur in a handful of sectors representing the most dangerous ways to earn a living in the country. Given the danger involved, a surprising number of these occupations pay only about the mean annual wage for all workers, which was $48,320 in 2015, according to the BLS.
And with these risky jobs, many might think life insurance is out the question; but it isn’t, it just might cost a bit more.
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Fatality rate: 110.9 per 100,000 workers; 78 total
Risk factors: Total logging fatalities in the U.S. increased from 59 to 78 between 2013 and 2014. Dangers abound when you spend most of your days outside with heavy machinery, often in bad weather and occasionally, high altitudes.
Average annual salary: $37,640
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Fishers and related fishing workers
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Fatality rate: 80.8 per 100,000 workers; 22 total
Risk factors: Forget the idea of the leisurely fisherman. Fishers and fishing workers have, on average, some of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Malfunctioning gear, bad weather and transportation incidents all add to this profession’s fatality rate, the 2nd highest in the country.
Average annual salary: $29,970
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Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
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Fatality rate: 64 per 100,000 workers; 82 total
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.
Average annual salary: $119,360 airline, $84,510 commercial
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Fatality rate: 47.4 per 100,000 workers; 83 total
Risk factors: It doesn’t take a history in roofing to know the biggest danger is not a sunburn or a hammered finger. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries, while other nonfatal injuries, such as fractures, make general construction work among the most injury-prone jobs.
Average annual salary: $40,630
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Refuse and recyclable material collectors
Fatality rate: 35.8 per 100,000 workers; 27 total
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.
Average annual salary: $36,370
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Farmers, ranchers, agricultural managers
Fatality rate: 26.7 per 100,000 workers; 270 total
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 causes the bulk of injuries and fatalities on the job, which is largely represented by transportation incidents.
Average annual salary: $69,880
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Structural iron and steel workers
Fatality rate: 25.2 per 100,000 workers; 15 total
Risk factors: Structural iron and steel workers install iron or steel beams and use cranes to lift the beams. Falls, slips and trips give ironworkers one of the highest rates of injuries of all occupations, according to the BLS.
Average annual salary: $54,750
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Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
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Fatality rate: 24.7 per 100,000 workers; 880 total
Risk factors: Truck drivers may get to enjoy seeing the countryside, but long hours on the road take a toll. Even the most vigilant of drivers sometimes breaks down under heavy pressure to produce. Traffic accidents are the major cause of fatalities among this group, according to the BLS.
Average annual salary: $38,030
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Electrical power line installers and repairers
Fatality rate: 19.2 per 100,000 workers; 25 total
Risk factors: Despite numerous safety precautions, these workers face potentially deadly conditions on a daily basis. Electrocution and falls account for most of the fatalities in these jobs.
Average annual salary: $65,650
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Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
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Fatality rate: 18 per 100,000 workers; 68 total
Risk factors: Taxi drivers and chauffeurs must stay alert and monitor the conditions of the road at all times. They have to take precautions to ensure their passengers’ safety, especially in heavy traffic or bad weather. This puts them at a higher risk of traffic accidents. In additional, they are at risk of transporting violent passengers or driving in high-crime areas.
Average annual salary: $26,070