Several of the most dangerous jobs, such as fishers, truck drivers, farmers, and landscapers, do not seem like what most people expect from highly fatal professions. People risk their lives every day to earn a wage. The list of the most fatal jobs represents only a fraction of dangerous work conditions present in America.
The Most Dangerous Jobs
The Bureau of Labor Statistics determines the fatality rate of a profession by taking the number of yearly deaths per 100,000 full-time workers. The top 10 most fatal jobs in 2020 were:
- Logging Workers
- Fishers and Related Fishing Workers
- Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers
- Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors
- Truck Drivers, Sales Workers, and Other Drivers
- Farmers, Ranchers, and Agricultural Managers
- Structural Iron and Steelworkers
- Construction and Extraction Workers
- Ground Maintenance, Landscaping, and Tree Service Workers
The second-place profession on this list, Fishers and Related Fishing Workers, does not immediately seem so dangerous when one compares it to the hazards of construction or mining work. Nevertheless, in fishing, there are many ways for employees to get hurt in a workplace accident. Ships are hectic, difficult places to work, and if one is not careful they might find themselves overboard.
Workers in this industry often die by drowning, weather conditions, collisions and shipwrecks, large and unexpected waves crashing on the decks, falls on slippery decks, or malfunctioning gear. Fishers experience some of the most horrific natural weather conditions. Their profession is second only to loggers in workplace deaths.
This vital field is not all calm waters and clear skies. In 2020, commercial fishers had a fatality rate of 77.4 deaths per 100,000 workers, resting just behind logging, the number one spot, at 97.6 fatal work injuries per 100,000 workers.
Another professional field that may strike one as fairly benign, truck drivers see more fatalities every year than those found in construction accidents. The same traffic hazards that make driving a dangerous commuting method—such as drunk drivers, icy conditions, and rain—are amplified exponentially when a person drives all day for his or her job.
From traffic accidents, truck drivers and other driving professionals saw 26 fatal work injuries in 2020. This tragic death toll places them at number six on the list for the 10 most dangerous jobs in 2020.
Farming is another profession that people often consider, while labor-intensive, relatively calm work without too much risk for injury. A common image of a commercial farmer could be that of a person picking oranges by hand on a comfortable California farm, not the industrialized, machine-heavy work that makes up the actual field.
Laborers in the farming industry work in disagreeable weather conditions with motorized vehicles, like tractors. Working with these machines is the main reason why the industry saw a 24.7 fatality work rate in 2020.
Landscaping seems innocuous enough. Landscapers can be seen every day managing the grass and foliage of parks, corporate offices, or homes. These hardly seem like the places for the tenth most deadly job in 2020.
However, these workers are exposed to heights and sharp tools, which gives them a fatality rate of 20.2 deaths per 100,000 workers. While this is the last job on the top 10 list, it still has a fatality rate five times higher than the average field.
Working to earn a living can be a dangerous ordeal. Many people in the United States wake up each morning, pack a lunch, and walk into situations they know put their bodies at risk.
From fishers to truck drivers, and farmers to landscapers, fatal jobs remain plentiful. Although technology consistently strives to make the working world safer, we still experience tragedy in the workplace.
How Workers’ Comp Protects Injured Workers
Those injured while performing their job duties can recover compensation through a workers’ compensation claim. Recoverable damages can cover the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, and long-term care. For employees in dangerous industries, these benefits mean the difference between hardship and recovery after an accident.