These are the most dangerous jobs in the United States, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data. You may be surprised by what people are paid for these high-risk jobs.
When it comes to choosing an occupation, most people consider how much they can earn, the benefits, and if their skill set is a good fit. But how about safety?
Certain jobs pose much more risk to your life and don’t always compensate you for it. Being so, it’s a good idea to find out how risky a potential line of work is so you can make a fully-informed decision on if it’s right for you. The relative risk of your job will also affect the cost of your life insurance premiums.
Which are the most dangerous jobs in the USA?
Here’s a countdown of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the United States, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Scroll to the bottom for the full list of most dangerous jobs by the number of fatalities.
10. Electrical power-line installers and repairers
Coming in at number 10 of the list of most dangerous jobs is electrical power-line installers and repairers. These workers are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical power systems and telecommunication cables. The main dangers are the risks of electrocution and falls due to close encounters with high-voltage electricity at great heights.
|Number of fatal work injuries per year:||26|
|Fatal work injury rate:||19 / 100,000|
|Median pay per year:||$65,880|
9. First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers
This line of work involves taking care of the grounds for businesses, homes, and parks. First-line supervisors are responsible for directing, supervising, and coordinating the activities of workers, ensuring that all workers follow safety regulations, and maintaining equipment. The risk comes from the operation of dangerous equipment and tools such as chainsaws, lawnmowers, power clippers.
|Number of fatal work injuries per year:||53|
|Fatal work injury rate:||21/100,000|
|Median pay per year:||$51,280|
8. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
Number eight includes farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers. These individuals run operations that grow and produce crops, dairy products, and livestock. The work is often outdoors, it’s physically strenuous, and it can involve the use of heavy equipment. The number one cause of death or injury on farms is when a tractor overturns.
|Number of fatal work injuries per year:||258|
|Fatal work injury rate:||24/100,000|
|Median pay per year:||$67,950|
7. Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
Driver/sales workers and truck drivers are responsible for transporting packages. A large amount of time on the road combined with the long, tiring periods behind the wheel increase the driver’s risk for an accident. If you only consider the total number of death every year, 987, these are by far the most dangerous jobs in the United States (source).
|Number of fatal work injuries per year:||987|
|Fatal work injury rate:||27/100,000|
|Median pay per year:||$30,500|
6. Structural iron and steelworkers
Structural iron and steel workers install iron and steel to form and reinforce bridges, buildings, and roads. Often, this involves working at great heights, which presents the risk of a life-threatening fall.
|Number of fatal work injuries per year:||14|
|Fatal work injury rate:||33/100,000|
|Median pay per year:||$52,770|
5. Refuse and recyclable material collectors
This occupation requires workers to remove refuse and recyclable material from waste containers and transport them to the dump. Additionally, it can involve driving the trucks. The danger results from heavy equipment such as compactors, front-end loaders, and sanitation trucks.
|Number of fatal work injuries per year:||30|
|Fatal work injury rate:||35/100,000|
|Median pay per year:||$38,920|
Roofers repair, replace, and install roofs on buildings. The work involves heavy lifting and a great deal of time spent on top of roofs, which presents the risk of life-threatening falls.
|Number of fatal work injuries per year:||91|
|Fatal work injury rate:||45/100,000|
|Median pay per year:||$39,970|
3. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
Pilots and engineers fly and navigate aircrafts such as airplanes and helicopters. The inherent risk here is the potential to crash from tens of thousands of feet in the air.
|Number of fatal work injuries per year:||59|
|Fatal work injury rate:||49/100,000|
|Median pay per year:||$115,670|
2. Logging workers
Logging workers harvest forests for the raw materials needed to produce industrial and consumer goods. The weight and momentum of trees, rugged and steep terrain, and equipment all pose risks to loggers. Plus, they are usually working in remote areas that are far from hospitals.
|Number of fatal work injuries per year:||55|
|Fatal work injury rate:||84/100,000|
|Median pay per year:||$40,650|
1. Fishermen (or fishers) and related fishing workers
The most dangerous job in the U.S. is that of a commercial fisherman. But what makes it so dangerous? Well, half of the fatalities result from the sinking of vessels while the second leading cause is fishermen falling overboard.
|Number of fatal work injuries per year:||41|
|Fatal work injury rate:||100/100,000|
|Median pay per year:||$36,900|
Frequently asked questions about the most dangerous jobs in the United States
Statistics can be misleading when read in isolation. Here are other questions you may be considering.
Which type of accident is responsible for the most fatalities?
Transportation incidents are the most lethal type of accident in the United States. Falls, slips, and trips are the second most common fatal accident; followed by violence caused by people and animals.
Which of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. pays the most?
If you have to choose one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S. you should probably become a pilot. Either that or become a farmer. Here is the median salary of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the U.S.
Which jobs are responsible for the most fatalities?
The type of job that is responsible for the most fatalities is drivers and sales workers. However, that statistic is skewed by the huge number of people that work in those types of jobs. See below a breakdown of the number of fatalities by job type.
Protect yourself from the dangers of high-risk occupations
In summary, if you are considering one of the top 10 most dangerous professions, or already work in one, it’s important to understand the risks involved so you can protect yourself and your family against them. For example, can you receive additional safety training? Is there additional personal protective equipment you can use? Regardless of the type of work you do, but particularly if you are employed in a high-risk job, consider purchasing life insurance if you have anybody relying on your income.
When shopping for life insurance, you’ll find that high-risk jobs impact your rates. Insurance companies factor in the increased risk you present when determining the likelihood of you filing a claim. Being so, it’s important to shop around with various insurers to find the most competitive deal.
You can save time by browsing leading insurers below and comparing offers side-by-side.
Jessica Walrack is a personal finance writer at SuperMoney, The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, Commonbond, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Guardian, Personalloans.org and many others. She specializes in taking personal finance topics like loans, credit cards, and budgeting, and making them accessible and fun.