Whether Americans realize it or not, getting into a car is perhaps the most dangerous thing most of us do on a daily basis. Nearly 37,500 Americans died in car accidents in 2016. Travel is also the most dangerous aspect of many of the jobs on this list. For taxi drivers, chauffeurs, truck drivers, and garbage collectors, transportation incidents accounted for at least half of all work related fatalities in 2016.
In several other jobs on this list, slips and falls account for a considerable share of deadly accidents. Roofers, structural iron and steelworkers, painters, repair workers, and construction laborers often work at great heights. For each of those jobs, falls accounted for at least one-third of deadly accidents in 2016.
In other occupations, the tools of the trade can be the biggest threat to worker safety. Often using powerful saws and other heavy equipment, logging workers, industrial machine repairers, and supervisors of groundskeeping workers all rank among the most dangerous professions. In each of these jobs, inadvertent contact with equipment accounts for at least one-third of all fatal workplace accidents.
For some occupations on this list, putting oneself in harm’s way is an explicit part of the job description. Police officers have one of the highest workplace mortality rates in the country and over half of all police deaths are the result of a violent incident with another person.
In addition to fatal accidents, those working in the jobs on this list tend to be at an elevated risk of serious nonfatal injuries. With only a few exceptions, the nonfatal injury rates among the jobs on this list are well above the national rate of 783 nonfatal injuries per 100,000 full-time workers.
To determine the 25 most dangerous jobs, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed fatal injury rates for 62 occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Injury rates were calculated as the number of fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, where a full-time worker is equivalent to 2,000 hours worked by an employee during the calendar year, and are for 2016. Data on median annual wages and total employment came from the Occupational Employment Statistics program of the BLS and are as of May 2016. Data on nonfatal injury came from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program of the BLS and are for 2016.