Special Report

25 Most Dangerous Jobs in America

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5. Refuse and recyclable material collectors
> 2018 fatal injury rate: 44.3 per 100,000 workers
> Total injuries in 2018: 37 fatal injuries, 1,490 nonfatal injuries
> Most common cause of fatal accident: Transportation incidents
> Median annual wage: $37,260

Refuse and recyclable material collectors had a 2018 fatal injury rate of 44.3 deadly incidents per 100,000 workers. The job is one of just five with a fatal injury rate that is 10 times that of the rate for all jobs, which is 3.5 incidents per 100,000 workers. As refuse collectors spend their days traveling around neighborhoods, transportation incidents are the most common cause of fatal injuries in this job. The job has many other hazards — like falls, overexertion, and contact with equipment — that occur more often but are not as likely to be fatal.

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4. Roofers
> 2018 fatal injury rate: 51.5 per 100,000 workers
> Total injuries in 2018: 96 fatal injuries, 2,060 nonfatal injuries
> Most common cause of fatal accident: Falls, slips, trips
> Median annual wage: $39,970

Roofing is one of just four professions in which the fatal injury rate exceeded a rate of 50 deadly incidents per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2018. The work of installing or replacing roofs is often done at considerable heights, increasing the risk of being seriously injured and worse by a fall. In fact, 74 of the 96 fatal accidents roofers suffered on the job were classified as falls, slips, and trips. Roofers are also subject to harmful environments as they often work long days in the hot sun, risking heat stroke.

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3. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
> 2018 fatal injury rate: 58.9 per 100,000 workers
> Total injuries in 2018: 70 fatal injuries, 490 nonfatal injuries
> Most common cause of fatal accident: Transportation incidents
> Median annual wage: $115,670

The most common injuries for aircraft pilots and flight engineers are transportation related. For pilots involved in any sort of crash, injuries can easily be fatal. The work of a pilot can be extremely taxing due to both mental stress and demanding scheduling, and exhaustion is a risk. These risks, however, are well rewarded, with the median annual wage being nearly three times the median for all occupations.

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2. Fishers and related fishing workers
> 2018 fatal injury rate: 77.4 per 100,000 workers
> Total injuries in 2018: 30 fatal injuries
> Most common cause of fatal accident: Transportation incidents
> Median annual wage: N/A

Fishers and related fishing workers had one of the highest rates of fatal injury in 2018. Commercial fishing is a largely physical work that involves fishing nets, gear, and slippery decks. Fishers and related fishing workers can also be exposed to challenging environmental factors such as extreme weather. In addition, workers may be out on the water or working from a remote area when an accident occurs, and where easy access to a hospital or medical professional may not be readily available. The majority of fatalities among fishers and related fishing workers are due to drowning.

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1. Logging workers
> 2018 fatal injury rate: 97.6 per 100,000 workers
> Total injuries in 2018: 56 fatal injuries, 1,040 nonfatal injuries
> Most common cause of fatal accident: Contact with objects and equipment
> Median annual wage: $40,650

With nearly 100 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers, logging is by far the most dangerous job in America. Loggers work with dangerous tools like chainsaws and harvesters to cut down heavy trees, which can sometimes fall on the workers. Fatalities may also be higher among loggers because they often work in remote areas, far away from medical attention they might need. There were over 1,000 nonfatal logging injuries in 2018, nearly triple the total in 2017.