The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a unit of the U.S. Department of Labor came out with its latest report on fatal occupational injuries in December 2016. The report outlined the national census of injuries for the year 2015 (the most recent year data is available). The report showed shocking statistics for fatal on-the-job injuries, an increase in deaths from the previous year. There were 4,836 worker fatalities in the U.S. in 2015, the highest number since 2008. Here are the five most dangerous jobs in America, according to the census:
#5: Refuse and Recyclables Collectors
The number five most dangerous job in America is garbage collector. This job combines some of the most common causes of worker injuries and deaths – transportation, heavy machinery and equipment, and objects that could fall and strike workers on the job.
Collecting refuse and recyclable materials takes great communication and coordination between the driver and the worker outside the vehicle, as well as training and safety practices when operating machinery. A mistake or act of negligence at any juncture could end terribly for the worker. This job had 33 total deaths in 2015, and a fatal work injury rate of 38.8 – i.e., deaths per 100,000 full-time workers.
With falls being number one on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s list for construction’s “fatal four,” it is no surprise that roofing made the list for America’s most dangerous jobs. In 2015, there were 75 roofer deaths and a fatal work injury rate of 39.7 according to the Bureau. Slips, trips, and falls were the second-most common fatal occupational injury event with 800 total deaths in 2015, behind only transportation incidents. Roofers may suffer fatal falls from improper safety training, lack of gear, or inadequate personal harness systems.
#3: Aircraft Workers
Aircraft pilots and engineers have very dangerous jobs, handling large machinery and equipment as well as operating in-air vessels. This sector came in at number three on the list, with a fatal work injury rate of 40.4 and 57 deaths in 2015. Despite the high rate of deaths, however, fatal injuries among pilots and flight engineers decreased by 30% compared to 2014. Even with the decrease, aircraft incidents in 2015 hit their highest rates since 2011.
#2: Fishers and Related Workers
With a death toll of 23 and a fatal work injury rate of 54.8, “fishers and related fishing workers” came in at number two on the most dangerous job list. Fatalities in this industry were at the highest level recorded in seven years. As an industry, fishing (along with agriculture, forestry, and hunting) came in at number three on the list of most dangerous sectors, with 570 total fatal work injuries in 2015. Fishing incidents can occur due to improper safety training, drowning incidents, and lack of proper gear.
#1: Logging Workers
Loggers work with heavy machinery and dangerous equipment, leading to the most worker fatalities of any occupation on the list. In 2015, 519 workers died due to struck-by incidents with objects or equipment. The most frequent deaths occurred from getting struck by plants, trees, and vegetation (110); and from construction, mining, and logging machinery (54). While not having the greatest number of worker deaths, logging workers had a fatal work injury rate of 132.7 in 2015, more than twice the rate for the second-most dangerous job.
Protect Yourself at Work
If your occupation made the list, protect yourself by obeying all workplace safety rules and regulations. Report negligent employers or unsafe workplaces to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to help prevent future employee fatalities. Work with an experienced workers comp attorney if you’ve recently suffered an on-the-job injury you believe might involve negligence.