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The 10 Most Hazardous Industries to Work In

It should come as little surprise that certain occupations are more dangerous than others, especially when it comes to the risk of getting injured. However, the most dangerous industries present an extremely high risk for injury just by their very nature.

There are lots of reasons for this rise, but one thing has held consistent: certain industries continue to be ranked among the most dangerous by their nature. These industries often include dealing with heavy machinery, moving large objects, or generally having to perform work in a dangerous location, such as working at heights or over water.

Here are the most dangerous industries to work in according to 2016 statistics (2017’s numbers are not yet available).

#10 – Groundskeeping & Land Maintenance

Gardeners, groundskeepers, and landscaping professionals make the list with a shockingly high number of fatalities: 217 in the year 2016 alone. That’s a total of 17.4 fatalities per 100,000 workers in the industry. Landscapers have a rather varied collection of duties, however they often involve working at heights (for people like tree groomers) and working around sharp blades and heavy machinery like chainsaws, hedge trimmers, and large lawnmowers.

#9 – First-Line Supervisors of Construction & Extraction Workers

Construction and mining supervisors are those whose responsibility it is to not only oversee that work is getting done properly but also safely. Unfortunately for them, doing so also puts them at a significant risk for injury. In fact, 134 workers in this industry were fatally injured in the year 2016, amounting to 18 per 100,000 people.

#8 – Farmers, Ranchers, & Agricultural Workers

Farming may seem like a simple and somewhat mild profession, but the truth is that massive farms with huge crops require massive machinery to plant, maintain, and then collect the harvest each year. Ranchers work with animals, collecting their harvest of milk, eggs, and countless other food items. Animals themselves are usually extremely strong and can weigh hundreds or even thousands of pounds, making it highly likely they can cause an injury.

In total, 23.1 workers were injured in 2016 for every 100,000 in the industry.

#7 – Drivers & Traveling Sales Workers

In essence, this industry is used to describe workers who make their living on the roads. Truck drivers, taxi cab drivers, and traveling salespeople all fit into this bill, and each of them face a tremendous risk by racking up the miles behind the wheel each year. The more you drive, the higher your risk for an accident is, and considering most of these workers collect their miles on the highways that span our nation, odds are an accident will likely happen at highway speeds.

This industry had the highest number of total fatalities in the year 2016 at 918, a total of 24.7 fatally injured workers for every 100,000. However, it’s also the biggest industry on this list (has the most workers in total).

#6 – Structural Iron & Steel Workers

Not only do iron and steel workers have to work around extremely high temperatures and massive machinery that could cause injuries, they could also be exposed to toxic substances that could cause tremendous health consequences, possibly even leading to fatalities. Despite just 16 fatalities last year, this industry had an average of 25.1 fatalities per every 100,000 workers.

#5 – Refuse & Recyclable Material Collectors

Working in the waste and recycling industries presents not only the risk of working around large machines that are used to collect, transport, and move material, but also a risk of toxic substance exposure as many people simply toss these substances in the garbage (with or without thinking about it). As a result, this industry averaged 34.1 fatalities per 100,000 workers in 2016.

#4 – Roofers

Roofers not only have to deal with heavy and possibly dangerous tools at some points, but they spend the overwhelming majority of each day working on a dangerous surface, a sloped plane located sometimes as much as 50 feet or more above the ground. In many cases roofers, don’t even wear a safety harness that can catch them in the event they slip and fall off the roof. There were 101 roofing industry fatalities in 2016, averaging 48.6 fatalities per 100,000 workers.

#3 – Aircraft Pilots & Flight Engineers

Aviation has been on a tremendous run in terms of safety, but the risk of a crash is always present. Furthermore, those who work outside of planes, such as ground crews at airports, baggage handlers, and even those who operate fueling vehicles, are all at a tremendous risk for toxic exposure. There was an average of 55.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers in the year 2016 in this industry.

#2 – Fishers & Fishing Workers

Boat captains, fishing operators, longshoremen, and other workers in the commercial fishing industry have an extremely dangerous job. Those on land have to work around tremendously heavy machinery for virtually every task they do, and those who work on these boats face the risk of rough seas and slippery surfaces making a slip-and-fall accident likely. Fishing workers have been known to be injured by an unsecured object swinging around or even by being accidentally tossed overboard. In total, despite just 24 fatalities last year, there was an average of 86 fatalities per 100,000 workers!

#1 – Logging

We use wood for a lot of things, and wood comes from trees, which means we need crews whose job it is to harvest the wood from trees. Logging not only has the risk of heavy machinery needed to harvest tall trees and move them where they need to go, but they also run the risk of a tree coming down in a direction that was not intended, possibly falling on someone and crushing them. In total, there were 91 fatalities in the logging industry in 2016, an average of 135.9 per 100,000 workers.

Have you been injured on the job?Contact Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC and let our Martin County workers’ compensation attorney provide you with the counsel you need for your claim.

All statistics can be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2016.Click here to read the full report.