Special Report

25 Most Dangerous Jobs in America

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25. Painters, construction and maintenance
> 2019 fatal injury rate: 7.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers
> Total injuries in 2019: 42 fatal injuries, 2,730 nonfatal injuries
> Most common cause of fatal injuries: Falls, slips, trips
> Median annual wage: $40,280
> Total employment: 232,760

Construction and maintenance painters paint large structures like buildings, bridges, equipment, and more. These painters often work in perilous situations, high up in the air. The occupation ranks as one of the 25 most dangerous jobs in America. There were 42 fatal injuries of construction painters in 2019, or 7.5 for every 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. Most of the fatalities were caused by falls.

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24. Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists
> 2019 fatal injury rate: 7.7 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers
> Total injuries in 2019: 28 fatal injuries, 3,400 nonfatal injuries
> Most common cause of fatal injuries: Contact with objects and equipment
> Median annual wage: $48,500
> Total employment: 266,330

Diesel engine specialists identify and repair problems with buses, trucks, and other vehicles that use diesel engines. These vehicles are typically large and heavy, making them potentially dangerous to work around. A dozen of these workers were killed by contact with objects or equipment in 2019. In total, there were 7.7 fatal injuries for every 100,000 full-time equivalent diesel engine specialists in 2019.

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23. Telecommunications line installers and repairers
> 2019 fatal injury rate: 7.8 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers
> Total injuries in 2019: 15 fatal injuries, 5,010 nonfatal injuries
> Most common cause of fatal injuries: Transportation incidents
> Median annual wage: $56,750
> Total employment: 120,900

These workers are most commonly killed in transportation accidents, like driving to or from job sites. Telecommunications line installers are also some of the most likely workers to miss time from work due to an injury. These workers suffered 442 occupational injuries that involved time away from work for every 10,000 full-time equivalent workers — more than five times the occupational injury rate of 86.9 per 10,000 for all jobs, and the second highest rate for any career field.

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22. Carpenters
> 2019 fatal injury rate: 7.9 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers
> Total injuries in 2019: 99 fatal injuries, 11,670 nonfatal injuries
> Most common cause of fatal injuries: Falls, slips, trips
> Median annual wage: $48,330
> Total employment: 734,170

For every 100,000 full-time equivalent carpenters, there were 7.9 fatal injuries on the job in 2019. Of the 99 total fatal incidents, 57 were due to falls, slips, and trips. There were also 11,670 nonfatal injuries among carpenters in 2019. This amounts to 189 occupational injuries that caused carpenters to miss time at work per 10,000 full-time equivalent workers — more than double the rate for all jobs.

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21. Shuttle drivers, chauffeurs, and taxi drivers
> 2019 fatal injury rate: 8.0 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers
> Total injuries in 2019: est. 56 fatal injuries, 3,910 nonfatal injuries
> Most common cause of fatal injuries: N/A
> Median annual wage: N/A
> Total employment: N/A

Shuttle drivers, chauffeur, and taxi drivers work in one of just 21 jobs where at least 8 workers died per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2019. Passenger vehicle drivers also sustained nearly 4,000 nonfatal injuries throughout the year. Though the most common cause of fatal injuries is not available for these workers, they often drive on highways and through congested traffic at all hours of the day, putting them at risk for traffic accidents.

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