Special Report

25 Most Dangerous Jobs in America

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15. Electrical power-line installers and repairers
> Fatal injuries in 2016: 14.6 per 100,000 workers
> Total: 21 fatal injuries, 1,710 nonfatal injuries
> Most common accident: Overexertion and bodily reaction
> Median annual wage: $68,010

There were nearly 15 work related deaths for every 100,000 full-time electrical power-line installers and repairers in 2016 — more than in all but 14 other occupations. It is likely not surprising that workers dealing with high voltage power lines, often at great heights, are at increased risk of a fatal workplace accident.

Even nonfatal injuries for workers in the field are often serious. nonfatal injuries typically result in 20 days out of work, more than double the amount of time typical across all occupations. There were 1,710 nonfatal injuries on the job in 2016 — 8.8% of which were the result of falls from one-story or higher.

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14. Police and sheriff’s patrol officers
> Fatal injuries in 2016: 14.6 per 100,000 workers
> Total: 108 fatal injuries, 28,740 nonfatal injuries
> Most common accident: Intentional injury by other person
> Median annual wage: $59,680

Some 108 police and sheriff’s patrol officers died in action in 2016, the most of any year since 2011 and among the most of any profession when adjusted for the number of people in the profession. The most common cause of death on the job were intentional shootings, which claimed the lives of 46 officers last year. Almost as many officers died in car accidents.

Police officers also suffered 28,740 nonfatal injuries, which required a median of nine days off to recover — on day more than the national median recovery time. Police officers often work around the clock, and 1.6% of nonfatal injuries in 2016 occurred at least 12 hours into an officer’s shift.

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13. Construction laborers
> Fatal injuries in 2016: 15.1 per 100,000 workers
> Total: 254 fatal injuries, 24,650 nonfatal injuries
> Most common accident: Struck by object
> Median annual wage: $33,430

There were 254 deaths on the job among construction workers in 2016 — or 15.1 deaths per 100,000 full-time construction workers. Construction workers often work at great heights on scaffolding, and over one-third of those deaths were caused by slips and falls. Many who work in construction also interact with heavy equipment and powerful tools on a daily basis — and over one-quarter of construction worker deaths in 2016 were caused by unintentional contact with equipment.

Nonfatal injuries are also relatively common among construction laborers, totaling 24,650 in 2016 alone. Injuries to the hand were the most common, followed closely by back injuries.

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12. First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers
> Fatal injuries in 2016: 15.7 per 100,000 workers
> Total: 44 fatal injuries, 4,140 nonfatal injuries
> Most common accident: Struck by object
> Median annual wage: $63,540

Workers who directly supervise and coordinate activities of mechanics, installers, and repairers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Approximately 16 in every 100,000 full-time first-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers died on the job in 2016, four times the national rate of 3.6 deaths in every 100,000 American workers. The most common cause of fatal injury was violence from another person or animal, which claimed 16 of the 44 lives lost in the profession in 2016. The leading cause of nonfatal injury, however, was from contact with objects — being struck by or against an object or being caught in machinery.

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11. Grounds maintenance workers
> Fatal injuries in 2016: 17.4 per 100,000 workers
> Total: 217 fatal injuries, 20,100 nonfatal injuries
> Most common accident: Struck by object
> Median annual wage: $26,830

Groundskeeping is typically a physically demanding job, performed outdoors in all weather conditions. Fatalities on the job are caused by a range of accidents — from slips and falls to unintentional contact with equipment. There were 17.4 fatalities for every 100,000 people working as groundskeepers in 2016 — a higher workplace fatality rate than all but 10 other occupations.

Groundskeepers often work with sharp tools such as saws and hedge trimmers. After muscle soreness, cuts and lacerations are the most common nonfatal injury in the field.

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