Serious injuries and even deaths can occur in almost any occupation, but in some career fields, the stakes are much higher than others. For these jobs, a single mistake can mean the difference between life and death. And workers in these fields often begin each new workweek hoping that the plate of pancakes they had for breakfast won’t be their last. As millions of workers become seriously injured every year and thousands more lose their lives, intense focus has been brought on safety in the workplace. Still, America’s most dangerous jobs remain extremely risky.
Recent Reports Reveal the Most Dangerous Jobs in America
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that about 2.9 million nonfatal work injuries occurred in 2015 alone. In an additional 4,836 cases, workers lost their lives. Some of the occupations that cause workers to risk life and limb are not as obviously hazardous as others. Below are a few of the most dangerous jobs that put American workers in harm’s way.
With the highest injury and fatality rate of any occupation in the U.S. according to the BLS, the construction industry involves an abundance of risks. About 60 percent of construction worker deaths are caused from what is commonly referred to as “the fatal four”- falls, being struck by an object, electrocutions, and being caught between equipment, material or other objects.
For these workers, a shocking fatality and injury rate is a reality. Power line service technicians and installers place themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis as they work from raised platforms and risk electrocution.
Agricultural workers are injured and lose their lives in this dangerous industry every day. Although advances in technology and more efficient machinery has made farming and other agricultural jobs much safer than they used to be, machinery deaths in this industry are still an issue.
An occupation that has continuously proven to be very risky over the years, truck driving takes the lives of about 22 workers per every 100,000. Poor weather conditions, driver distraction, and extreme fatigue are often to blame.
Corrections officers have an injury rate of about 36 times that of the average American worker. Confrontations with inmates and suspects are the top causes of serious injuries and deaths in the industry.
Sadly, 68 firefighters lost their lives on the job in 2015. These brave workers are commonly subjected to the extreme heat and structural weaknesses associated with fires but are exposed to hazardous chemicals and materials like asbestos that cause injuries and deaths as well.
Although this is one of the lowest paid occupations on the list, it carries a high degree of risk for serious injuries. While deaths in this field may not be as common as they are in other industries, nursing assistants are often exposed to physical and emotional demands, contagious illnesses and infections, and even workplace violence. Back injuries are some of the most common ailments workers face.
In addition to the high risk for being involved in a serious crash that can lead to injuries or death, taxi drivers are also susceptible to assault and even murder. OSHA reports that taxi drivers are about 20 times more likely to be murdered on the job than other American workers.
U.S. Postal Workers
The most dangerous job in Minnesota is being a U.S. Postal worker. And OSHA asserts that the U.S. Postal Service reports more serious injuries than any other employer in the United States. In 2016, there were 69 dog attacks incidents involving postal workers in Minneapolis alone and about 118 statewide. The 27 percent increase for the city caused Minneapolis to come in as the tenth most dangerous city for postal workers last year.
Employers Reporting the Highest Number of Severe Injuries
While some types of jobs are more dangerous than others, studies reveal that some employers may be riskier than others as well. From January of 2015 to December of 2016, the following employers reported the most on-the-job injuries in the United States.
- The United States Postal Service: With well more than twice as many serious injuries as any other employer, the U.S. Postal Service reported a whopping 395 serious injuries.
- Walmart: Second on the list of most reported injuries, Walmart had 155 nationwide.
- The United Parcel Service (UPS): Package delivery proved dangerous in about 136 cases for UPS workers during the period studied.
- Tyson Foods: Notorious for having unsafe working conditions, Tyson Foods reported 74 injuries.
- Waste Management: While the employer only reported about 40 severe injuries in this time frame, they held the highest work injury rate of any employer. Approximately 93 workers were injured per 100,000.