Special Report

25 Most Dangerous Jobs in America

Source: b_karloff / Getty Images

20. Mining Machine Operators
> Fatal injuries in 2017: 11.7 per 100,000 workers
> Total: 7 fatal injuries, 370 nonfatal injuries
> Most common fatal accidents: Contact with objects and equipment
> Median annual wage: $53,200

Mining has long been one of the most dangerous occupations in the world, as it entails working far underground in potentially unstable tunnels with coal dust or other highly combustible materials. Some of the worst workplace disasters in history have been mine collapses or explosions. Today, improved safety regulations and technology have drastically reduced the likelihood of death on the job, but mining is still highly dangerous. Mining machine operators suffer a fatality rate over three times the national rate.

Source: Drazen_ / Getty Images

19. Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators
> Fatal injuries in 2017: 11.8 per 100,000 workers
> Total: 45 fatal injuries, 2,230 nonfatal injuries
> Most common fatal accidents: Transportation incidents
> Median annual wage: $47,040

Construction is a relatively dangerous industry, and those who operate construction equipment are not much safer than others on the site. There were nearly 12 deaths for every 100,000 full-time engineers and equipment operators in 2017 — fewer than the 14 deaths per 100,000 among construction laborers — but still among the most of any job. Nonfatal injuries are also common. According to the BLS, operating equipment like bulldozers and pile-drivers can lead to long-term injury or disability due to stress from repeated shaking and noise.

Source: RyanJLane / Getty Images

18. Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers
> Fatal injuries in 2017: 12.9 per 100,000 workers
> Total: 95 fatal injuries
> Most common fatal accidents: Violence and other injuries by persons or animals
> Median annual wage: $61,050

Given the nature of police work, this makes sense. Officers are frequently required to work in high-risk situations, engaging in high-speed chases and confronting potentially violent individuals. The most common cause of workplace fatalities among police officers is direct violence from other people, but a close second is transportation accidents.

Source: Thinkstock

17. First-Line Supervisors of Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers
> Fatal injuries in 2017: 13.1 per 100,000 workers
> Total: 35 fatal injuries, 3,540 nonfatal injuries
> Most common fatal accidents: Transportation incidents
> Median annual wage: $64,780

Workers who directly supervise and coordinate activities of mechanics, installers, and repairers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Approximately 13 in every 100,000 full-time first-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers died on the job in 2017, roughly four times the national rate of 3.6 deaths for every 100,000 American workers.

Those who work in dangerous conditions are more likely to be compensated at a higher rate, and the high risk of injury associated with this occupation may help explain its annual median wage of $64,780, which is roughly $27,000 higher than the national median wage for all occupations.

Source: ilkercelik / Getty Images

16. Construction Laborers
> Fatal injuries in 2017: 14.3 per 100,000 workers
> Total: 259 fatal injuries, 21,760 nonfatal injuries
> Most common fatal accidents: Falls, slips, trips
> Median annual wage: $34,530

There were 259 deaths on the job among construction workers in 2017 — or 14.1 deaths per 100,000 full-time construction workers. Construction workers often work at great heights on scaffolding, and roughly 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 about one in five construction worker deaths in 2017 was caused by contact with equipment.

Nonfatal injuries are also relatively common among construction laborers, totaling 21,760 in 2017 alone.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.