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5 Most Dangerous Jobs in the United States

In 2015, almost 5,000 workers were killed on the job. That boils down to about 13 deaths a day. While certain people work under the assumption that they may face a serious, life-threatening injury every day, such as police officers, they aren’t the group with the highest rate of fatality or hurt. Below is a list of the most dangerous jobs you could do in the United States.


Loggers have one of the highest fatality rates in the United States. About 111 per 100,000 workers will be killed a year in the line of duty. Most of the deaths are accidental. Consider this scenario:

A logger is cutting down a tree with a chainsaw. The logger doesn’t notice that the top of the tree has broken away. While he moves to the side of the long trunk, the upper part of the tree dislodges from the other branches and strikes him as it falls, killing him instantly.

This is one of the most common logging-death scenarios. People who work in this arena would call the dropping branch a “widowmaker” or “fool killer.” Many of these losses happen as a result of falling trees and rolling logs, but others also occur because of machinery accidents.


When some people think of fishing, they think of lounging next to a still pole, waiting for a passing trout to take a bite. It’s a calm and tranquil scene. However, vacation and commercial fishing couldn’t be more different. Two of the most dangerous places to fish are in the Alaskan and East Coast waters. From 2000–2009, 504 fishers died on duty. Most of these deaths resulted from a vessel disaster. Rough seas can completely capsize and destroy a ship (and everyone on it), but during a storm, a fisher can easily fall overboard and be lost to the waves. 

In colder waters, a person could be rescued if they plummet into the ocean, but they may die of hypothermia before then.

Aircraft Piloting/Flight Engineering

As with any human-operated vehicle, airplane accidents mostly occur as a result of human error. While commercial flights are safer than the average car, smaller planes have a much higher crash rate. Bush, charter, and air taxi flights can be extremely dangerous in hazardous weather, but better technology has made it marginally safer to fly.


Out of 100,000 roofers, about 47 of them will die. However, thousands of others will be injured on the job. The most unsafe aspect of roofing is, of course, the height. A fall from even a 1-story house can snap a person’s neck or break their spine. Even a sprained ankle, while not necessarily fatal, can put workers out of commission for a month or more.

Garbage/Recyclable Collection

While their fatality rate is lower (35 deaths out of every 100,000 workers), there is an enormous amount of reported injuries in garbage collection. Almost 35% of these employees are injured a year. Garbage collectors have to lift any heavy bags not included in the trashcan itself, which individuals often leave at the side of the road. Many of them sustain back injuries after years of physical strain. They also encounter hazardous materials on a daily basis, from used needles to battery acid. Auto accidents are also high on their list of risks, as cars tend to try and dodge in front of the slower-moving trash collection vehicles.

If you work in any of these occupations, report any injuries as soon as they happen. Contact us at 818-888-3000 or fill out our online form if you would like assistance in filing a claim. Our Woodland Hills workers' compensation attorneys can help.

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