Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs

Dangerous Jobs Although not tied directly to his job, the recent death of 'Deadliest Catch' star Justin Tennison has brought dangerous jobs to the forefront again.

All jobs comes with health risks, but while some are minor, like computer eye strain or a slipping hazard in the break room by the coffee machine, others are more serious and even potentially even fatal. Falling from great heights, being crushed under heavy equipment, and crashing into a fiery explosion are just a few of the job dangers many workers face daily.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics compiled data from such hazardous jobs and created this list of The Top Ten Most Dangerous Occupations. Of course there's an upside to dangerous work, which is that often the added danger translates into higher pay.

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1. Fisherman

Median Annual Salary: $44,141*

Death rate: 200 per 100,000

Why it's so dangerous: Hauling and maneuvering nets or cages weighing several hundred pounds (or more) is tricky enough even without heavy rain, wind, slippery decks, and ice cold waves splashing and sloshing everywhere. And of course drowning is always a very real possibility.

2. Logger

Median Annual Salary: $40,278*

Death rate: 61.8 per 100,000

Why it's so dangerous: Loggers work at great heights and on unstable, uneven terrain with chain saws and logging machines that are dangerous even when used properly. They're also required to negotiate the incredible momentum and massive weight of falling trees and tree limbs, often in inclement weather and in remote locations where proper health care faciltiies are not readily available.

3. Aircraft Pilot

Median Annual Salary: $117,948*

Death rate: 57.1 per 100,000

Why it's so dangerous: Bush flying, crop dusting, banner towing and piloting commercial flights are all included in this group. Crop dusting and bush flying are by far the most dangerous due to the fact that they fly in small planes, very close to the ground, and often work long hours. Also, as with all pilots, if something goes wrong there's little option other than to come crashing down.

4. Farmer/Rancher

Median Annual Salary: $30,450

Death rate: 38.5 per 100,000

Why it's so dangerous: Farmers and ranchers face an array of on-the-job hazards including being crushed or entangled by heavy machinery such as combines and balers, kicked or trampled by livestock, trapped inside silos or grain elevators, and exposed to toxic levels of pesticides and other chemicals. All this while working extremely long hours during planting and harvest seasons.

5. Roofer

Median Annual Salary: $36,895*

Death rate: 34.7 per 100,000

Why it's so dangerous: Heights, severe inclines, slippery surfaces, uneven footing, a lack of safety harnesses or netting, and tasks that usually require both hands, make falls are a very real possibility for roofers. Add in searing heat, wind, sun, and dehydration, and you have a potentially fatal workplace environment.

6. Structural Iron/Steel Worker

Median Annual Salary: $47,013*

Death rate: 30.3 per 100,000

Why it's so dangerous: No matter how coordinated, balanced, and focused you are walking 4-inch wide metal planks, climbing ladders, and dodging falling debris all day at dizzying heights (sometimes dozens or even hundreds of feet above the ground) is risky business.

7. Refuse Collector

Median Annual Salary: $35,945*

Death rate: 25.2 per 100,000

Why it's so dangerous: The seemingly mundane job of "garbage man" is a surprisingly hazardous one, in part due to risks associated with operating heavy lifting and compacting equipment, but mostly because of the way they ride from house to house clinging to the sides and back of their garbage trucks. They often perch precariously on narrow ledges and running boards -- just one little slip and they can easily be caught under the wheels of the truck and/or hit by passing traffic.

8. Industrial Machinery Maintenance Worker

Median Annual Salary: $46,645

Death rate: 18.5 per 100,000

Why it's so dangerous:Large-scale machinery designed to crush, melt, bend, or reform metal or other industrial materials can easily crush or mangle a human in seconds if something goes wrong. There's also the risk of fire or explosion, exposure to toxic chemicals, and falling or shifting debris.

9. Truck Driver

Median Annual Salary $*43,048

Death rate: 18.3 per 100,000

Why it's so dangerous: Driving is hazardous for anyone for any length of time but especially for those that drive for a living. Long hours and boring stretches of road make staying alert and focused a challenge, while high speeds, very large vehicles, and heavy loads make the consequences of even a small error or lapse exponentially more serious.

10. Construction Worker

Median Annual Salary $*66,422

Death rate: 18.3 per 100,000

Why it's so dangerous: Construction workers labor in all sorts of environments including underground, at great heights, and on busy highways and building sites. In addition they often work with hazardous materials, explosives, heavy equipment, and power tools.

Next: 10-Year-Old Wrestles Alligators, and Other Dangerous Jobs for Kids

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Rigel Celeste


Rigel Celeste is a freelance writer and artist living in a small city in the middle of Midwest farming country. In her free time she enjoys gardening, hiking and playing with her dog, and drinking coffee while staring out the window.

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Nunya Dambinness

Cops nowhere on the list, yet they constantly cry about how dangerous their jobs are, and use it as justification for shooting us and our dogs.

December 22 2013 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey, they only listed legal jobs.

April 03 2013 at 10:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bl's page news

You forgot about well drillers.

April 03 2013 at 5:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hello Joe

I would think that a suicide bombers occupation would be the worst.

January 29 2013 at 10:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Nursing a very risky job, dealing day to day with disease and bloodborn pathogens, Not to mention the wear and tear on your physical and mental state.

January 29 2013 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The article/list is so way off. Except for fisherman, it completely ignores maritime.

January 29 2013 at 9:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm always shocked that firefighting is not on these lists.

January 29 2013 at 8:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am surprised that linemen (utility workers) are not in the top ten as well. Especially, since they hang 50+ feet in the air next to voltage that can kill them with any false move or unexpected blow-up.

August 28 2012 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You guyes are completely insulting. Have you ever heard of a roughneck from a service rig? That is by far the most dangerous job in the world. Try looking up a blow out or a acid job on a well or the pinch points on a rig. Our jobs are the most dangerous out there I'm extremely insulted that you think a fishermans job is more dangerous than a stud roughnecks on a service rig.

July 09 2012 at 2:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nasir Manzoor

Dear Sir,

My name is Nasir Manzoor, nickname is "Umer". I'm about 33 years old bold and smart guy living in Karachi City. In short I would like to ask you "will you give me a chance to become a Cameraman of your Organization"? I'm not professionally a Cameraman but I'm fearless and quite bold person.

Its my wish to make movies in War, Counter Attacks, or any sort of Danger Places where nobody wants to go so easily. Sure, if you will teach me how to making a Movies then I'm here to learn and work.

I have my own little business of Pest Control Services in Karachi City. Working in Danger is my spirit and I'm fond of to do this. All I know is that one day everyone have to die at anyhow and anyway ...... So I don't care about anything.

So please assist me and offer me what do you have to give me? I will wind-up my all business and everything to become a Professional Camera who Works on Dangerous Moments.


Warm Regards,

Umer (Nasir Manzoor)

Cell No. +92-321-2016825


February 12 2012 at 3:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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