While anyone can get hurt on the job, certain professions are significantly more hazardous than others. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a total of 5,190 fatal work injuries occurred across industries and regions in the United States in 2021. The following jobs represent the 10 civilian occupations with the highest fatal work injury rates (out of 100,000 full-time equivalent workers).
With a staggering fatal injury rate of 82 per 100,000, logging workers have the most dangerous job in America. Loggers tend to work on isolated sites with variable weather conditions, where they face falling debris and contact with heavy machinery. In fact, loggers died at a rate almost 23 times greater than the average across all professions in 2021 (3.6 out of 100,000).
Fishing and Hunting Workers
Fishing and hunting workers follow closely behind loggers, with a fatal injury rate of 75 per 100,000. These workers catch wild animals in all kinds of land and sea environments with a variety of specialized equipment, such as traps, nets, guns, bows, and more.
Roofing workers have the third-highest rate of workplace death at 59 per 100,000. Facing extreme weather, toxic substances, electricity, and ever-present fall hazards, 115 roofers in the United States died from a work injury in 2021.
Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers
Pilots and flight engineers provide air transportation of passengers and cargo, both on scheduled and nonscheduled flights. Pilots face substantial risks in their jobs — especially when flying private planes and helicopters — resulting in a 2021 fatal injury rate of 48 per 100,000.
Structural Iron and Steel Workers
Often working at great heights and under hazardous conditions, these laborers install iron and steel to support buildings, bridges, and roads. Ironworkers and steelworkers have physically demanding and dangerous jobs, with a fatal injury rate of 36 per 100,000 in 2021.
Delivery Drivers and Truck Drivers
Because drivers spend so much time on the road, they face a much higher risk of being injured in a transportation accident than other occupations. Over 1,000 of these workers died on the job in 2021, representing a fatal injury rate of 29 per 100,000.
Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors
Garbage and recycling collectors also spend a lot of time on the road picking up materials and delivering them to landfills and recycling centers, which subjects them to a high risk of motor vehicle accidents. This occupation had a fatal injury rate of 28 per 100,000 in 2021.
Underground Mining Machine Operators
Using specialized heavy equipment in often dangerous conditions, these workers extract materials such as coal, ore, and rock from the earth. With potential hazards like cramped workspaces, reduced visibility, toxic air, and cave-ins, underground mining machine operators had a fatal injury rate of 27 per 100,000 in 2021.
Construction Trade Workers
Construction work often involves heavy equipment, hazardous conditions, and great heights. Facing risks like falling, electrocution, and being struck by objects or equipment, construction laborers and helpers had a fatal accident rate of 23 per 100,000 in 2021.
Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers
Regularly confronting a variety of workplace hazards — including exposure to electricity, transportation incidents, and falls — power-line workers had a fatal work injury rate of 22 per 100,000 in 2021.
Workplace Injury Attorneys
With millions of workers sustaining injuries every year, it’s important to understand your rights on the job. The experienced Boston work injury lawyers at Altman & Altman LLP can help you if you’ve been denied workers’ compensation, wish to file a personal injury lawsuit, or have any questions about your legal options after a job-related injury. Contact us today for a free consultation.