Dangerous Jobs

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10 Most Dangerous Jobs


They help us build our houses and feed our families. They deliver our packages and take away our trash, and when we need a ride, they're there to whisk us away. And they're risking their lives to do it.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the workers most likely to be killed at work aren't the ones donning bullet-proof vests to capture criminals or saving victims from fire-engulfed buildings. Instead, the workers most likely to die on the job are the ones who help provide us with our daily needs like a safe home, food and electricity.

The typical worker has a low risk of fatal injuries at work – the fatality rate for all occupations is 4.1 per 100,000 employed. But these hazardous jobs, all of which had a minimum of 30 fatalities in 2004 and 40,000 people employed, are far riskier.

Editor's note: It would sure be interesting to know if the women's movement is working hard to open up these fields to women and to see if these are highly sought after jobs by women.

The BLS lists these occupations as 10 of the most dangerous in the nation:

1. Logging workers

Fatalities: 92.4 per 100,000 employed
Median Pay: $29,730

Logging and timber workers duties include cutting down trees and cutting and moving logs, providing the raw material for countless products. The nature of their work puts them at constant risk of being killed by heavy, falling objects.

2. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers

Fatalities: 92.4 per 100,000 employed
Median pay: $129,250 – but may be much lower for commercial pilots.

Although aircraft pilots and flight engineers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the nation, don't swear off air travel just yet. This category also includes commercial pilots of smaller aircrafts – including crop dusters and air taxis – that are far more likely to crash than your typical 747.

3. Fishers and related workers

Fatalities: 86.4 per 100,000 employed
Median Pay: $24,100

Fishers endure storms, fog, wind and hazardous working conditions before bringing you the fresh salmon on your dinner plate. Perilous weather puts fishers at risk of drowning if their boat capsizes or they fall overboard. And if they suffer serious injuries while at sea, help isn't readily available.

4. Structural iron and steel workers

Fatalities: 47 per 100,000 employed
Median pay: $42,430

These workers climb dozens of stories to lay the iron and steel that form buildings, bridges and other structures. Despite strapping on harnesses and other safety gear, structural iron and steel workers face a high risk of fatal injuries from falls.

5. Refuse and recyclable material collectors

Fatalities: 43.2 per 100,000 employed
Median pay: $25,760

When refuse and recyclable material collectors take away your trash, they risk traffic accidents and fatal injuries from explosions of hazardous materials. According to a University of Miami study, the leading cause of on-the-job fatalities for these workers is impatient motorists who try to pass the garbage truck and hit the driver.

6. Farmers and ranchers

Fatalities: 37.5 per 100,000 employed
Median pay: $40,440

Farmers and ranchers raise animals and plant, cultivate and harvest crops used to produce our food. However, the tractors and machinery used by these workers can be very dangerous: Non-highway vehicle accidents accounted for 40 percent of occupational fatalities for farmers and ranchers in 2004.

7. Roofers

Fatalities: 34.9 per 100,000 employed
Median pay: $30,840

When these workers climb atop your house to build or repair your roof, they risk slipping or falling from scaffolds, ladders, or roofs, or burning themselves on flammable, toxic materials.

8. Electrical power line installers and repairers

Fatalities: 30 per 100,000 employed
Median pay: $49,100

When your lights go out, line installers and repairers climb power poles and towers to get your electricity up and running. Power lines are typically high off the ground, so workers are at high risk of injury due to falls. Plus, these workers are often at risk of electrocution from contact with the high-voltage power lines.

9. Driver/sales workers and truck drivers

Fatalities: 27.6 per 100,000 employed
Truck driver median pay: $33,520
Driver/sales worker median pay: $20,090

Truck drivers transport goods including cars and livestock, and driver/sales workers deliver and sell their firm’s products over established routes. Both groups spend the majority of their time on the road, putting them at high risk of highway vehicle crashes.

10. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

Fatalities: 24.2 per 100,000 employed
Median pay: $19,570

The dangers of shuttling around patrons go far beyond highway crashes. Taxi drivers, who often work alone and carry large amounts of cash, may also find themselves victims of robbery and homicide.

Source: Laura Morsch is a writer for CareerBuilder.com . She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

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