Numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics give us some insight into the most dangerous occupations in the United States. The top 10 most dangerous occupations were measured in terms of numbers of fatal work injuries.
Each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a wealth of data outlining the causes of injuries, occupations that see a high number of injuries and so forth.
The popular Discovery Channel show, “The Deadliest Catch,” is aptly named since fishermen experienced the highest rates of fatalities in 2010. The show brings the everyday life of Alaskan king crab fishermen in the Bering Sea to millions of living rooms across the U.S. In 2010, 29 of these fishermen lost their lives in the course of their work on the high seas.
That equates to 116 deaths per 100,000 workers, making it the most dangerous occupation in the country.
To give you a comparison, the average death rate for on-the-job injuries in the U.S. is 3.5 deaths per 100,000 workers.
The top 10 most dangerous occupations in the U.S. in terms of worker fatalities include (rate per 100,000 workers in parentheses):
- Fishermen (116.0)
- Logging workers (91.9)
- Airplane pilots and flight engineers (70.6)
- Farmers and ranchers (41.4)
- Mining machine operators (38.7)
- Roofers (32.4)
- Sanitation workers (29.8)
- Truck drivers and delivery workers (21.8)
- Industrial machine workers (20.3)
- Police officers (18.0)
In terms of sheer numbers though, truck drivers and delivery workers experienced the most fatalities in 2010. More workers died due to workplace accidents in those professions (…683 in total) than any other profession. But since there are so many workers that fall into this category, it isn’t considered the most dangerous when calculated into a fatality rate. In 2010, this rate was 21.8 per 100,000 workers.
Mining occupations in particular saw a spike in worker deaths in 2010, mainly due to multiple deaths that occurred at the Upper Big Branch mine and the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico.
All told though, there were 4,547 workers were killed on-the-job in 2010, which is slightly down from the 4,551 fatalities that occurred in 2009. This number though makes 2010 the safest year on record and represents a 25% decline in worker fatalities since the BLS started collecting data of this nature in 1992.
As you likely know, many of these occupations are quite common in Colorado. Many of the cases we see come through our Denver workers’ compensation firm involve the above mentioned occupations.