Whether it's fixing electrical lines or working in the fields, these essential jobs in the US come with some serious risks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here's a roundup of some dangerous gigs out there.
30. HVAC Technicians
They're needed when it's hot and they're needed when it's cold. That's right, the roundup of America's dangerous professions starts off with the trusty and reliable HVAC technician. And this job is no walk in the park.
From extreme heights on precarious ladders to hot equipment, these laborers are exposed to a number of risks at work. In addition, they're often working with live wiring which puts them at risk of electrocution. For these reasons, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 6.8 deaths out of 100,000 workers in just one year.
29. Security Guards
From hysterical hoards of concert-goers to Black Friday stampedes, a shift as a security officer can come with a slew of risks while on the job. Some of the many sources of injuries include falls, physical altercations, exposure to harmful substances, and more.
After all, it's a fairly rare occurrence that the number of security guards ever outnumbers the crowd, and for that reason, they are often at risk of a situation escalating out of control. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6.8 guards out of 100,000 perished on the job in 2019.
28. Heavy Machinery Operators
One look at this picture and it's fairly understandable to most how this job can come with some serious risks. After all, most forklifts come with some pretty big warning signage. From improperly secured loads to lifting above capacity, the dangers are abundant on this job.
Oftentimes, these workers are operating forklifts that reach a maximum height of 15 feet, which can make for some tricky maneuvering. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics' figures, a whopping 7 people lost their lives out of 100,000 workers during the 2019 year.
They say a picture speaks a thousand words, so this picture must do a pretty good job explaining the risks involved with being an electrician. Just take a look at the towering view! These skilled workers are often fixing electrical lines strung 15.5 feet above the ground.
In addition to the risk of falls, electricians are exposed to the risk of fire, burns from live wires, and electrocution. Throw in some bad weather and exposure to UV radiation, and it's safe to say a pay raise is in order! The Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 7.2 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2019.
26. Painters and Building Maintenance Workers
While the finished product brings a great deal of beauty into our busy lives, the job of a commercial painter is far from a walk in the park. In fact, according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, the risks involved with the occupation are numerous, to say the least!
To name a few, painters are exposed to extreme heights, falls, molds, and proximity to flammable materials. And while precautions are taken at every turn, accidents, unfortunately, do happen. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7.5 out of 100,000 paints passed away on the job in just one year alone.
25. Transport Vehicle Mechanics
Truck life comes with some risks! When these jumbo-vehicle drivers find themselves in a bind, they know just who to call: transport vehicle mechanics. And these skilled technicians have no easy feat. In working on these big vehicles, they're at risk of burns, exposure to toxins, and even fire!
In addition, these mechanics can be called to some pretty extreme locations - any day, anytime, and regardless of the weather. In fact, in 2019 alone, 7.7 out of 100,000 transport vehicle mechanic deaths were recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This one's almost as frightening as the next job on our list...
24. Telephone Line Technicians
It's safe to say that these workers play a pretty integral role in our day-to-day lives. From landlines to digital subscriber lines, these miles upon miles of cables have helped keep us connected for decades. And so when they're suddenly not working, technicians are called in ASAP.
Out of 100,000 workers in the United States, a total of 7.8 workers faced or experienced a fatal injury on the job, while nonfatal injuries reached up into the thousands in past years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. From falls to electrocution, this job is far from risk-free.
23. Wood Workers
From commercial projects to more bespoke, custom-made pieces, carpenters have some pretty large machinery in their arsenal and are working with a material that sometimes has a mind of its own. And according to Browns Safety Services in the UK, there are a number of risks on the job.
Besides an accident from mishandling equipment, carpenters are exposed to liabilities including injuries to the eye, falls from extreme heights, plus asbestos and live wire exposure. In 2019 alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 7.9 deaths per 100,000 of these skilled workers!
22. Taxi Drivers and Personal Drivers
Whether it be the middle of the night or the middle of a snowstorm, chances are that you've seen a taxi cruising the streets even in the unlikeliest of scenarios. These dedicated drivers fare against some pretty difficult conditions to get the job done, and are exposed to some severe risks from pickup to drop off.
For starters, prolonged time on the road exposes them to a higher chance of car accidents. And beyond that, they have a tragic reputation of being the victim of robbery and even physical altercations. Because of this, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 8 out of 100,000 drivers died in 2019.
21. Welders and Brazing Workers
From welding to soldering and brazing, these highly skilled trade workers are able to transform their materials and elevate metal to new heights. But the road to perfection comes with some pretty high risks, as is fairly clear based on this action shot.
While these workers undergo rigorous training, they're still exposed to dangers including electrocution, burns, electric shock, and vision damage from the sparks constantly flying into their faces. Despite best intentions, the BLS recorded the fatal injury rate at 8.1 per 100,000 full-time workers.
20. Law Enforcement
If Hollywood has taught us anything, it's that a job as an officer of the law can come with some pretty extreme risks. And in day-to-day reality, there are a number of threats facing these trained cops when they step into the field. And according to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, these threats include:
Physical altercations, exposure to contagious or infectious people and materials, exposure to illegal substances, car accidents, and extreme weather conditions - just to name a few. And for these reasons, the BLS found that 11.1 out of 100,000 full-time officers died on duty in just one year.
19. Groundkeeper Supervisors
According to the Department of Labor's O*NET career database, groundkeeper supervisors "directly supervise and coordinate activities of workers engaged in landscaping or groundskeeping activities." And because of their expertise, they can end up being called into some tricky situations.
From malfunctioning equipment to an unexpected incident on the turf, these supervisors are typically first on the scene when things go awry and end up in harm's way. Subsequently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 12.6 out of 100,000 full-time workers lost their lives in 2019.
18. Construction Machine Operators
From bulldozers to asphalt pourers and everything in between: construction machine operators, also known as operating engineers, can be found at some of the riskiest job sites around the country. After all, the stakes are high and the equipment is enormous.
Dangers include falls, malfunctioning equipment, and even electrocution. While rigorous training is required to limit the chance of accidents, unfortunately they still do occur. In 2019 alone, the BLS reported that 12.8 out of 100,000 full-time workers perished whilst on the job.
17. Electric Technicians
Not to be confused with telephone line repair workers, electric technicians can also be found perched high above our streets making sure power is run safely around the city. But what about the risks whilst working on the clock? There's no shortage of dangers for these brave technicians.
For starters, these installers and repair workers are often working at heights of upwards of 13 feet. And beyond being exposed to extreme weather, there's also a high chance of both falling and electrocution from the live wires. Consequently, the BLS reported that 13.3 out of 100,000 workers died in 2019.
16. Maintenance and Repair Workers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, general maintenance and repair workers tackle a whole range of projects including pipe fitting, insulating, repairing electrical or mechanical equipment, and installation. And the risks on the job are just as numerous as the diverse avenues in the field.
From malfunctioning equipment to extreme electric show, these workers never quite know what's in store - thus resulting in a rigorous apprenticeship to make sure these workers are trained as best as they can be. In 2019, the BLS recorded that out of 100,000 workers, 13.4 had passed away on the job.
15. Extraction Laborers
Extraction laborers belong to a fairly wide umbrella in the world of trades. They represent workers who work in resource extraction without an official title, unlike gas or oil extraction workers. However, the wide exposure to materials presents risks to these skilled workers.
Extraction laborers deal with nearly every type of resource available in the industry - which can come with some threatening risks. From explosions to machine hazards and falls, these highly skilled workers face no easy time on the job. In 2019, the BLS found that 14.3 out of every 100,000 workers had died whilst working.
14. Mechanic Trade Supervisors
Similarly to grounds keeping supervisors, first-line management of mechanics, repairers, and installers often find themselves as the number one person on the scene when something goes awry at work. And the risks associated with such work are neverending.
In fact, 14.6 out of every 100,000 of these supervisors lost their lives to fatal work accidents in 2019 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Want to learn about more of America's high-risk career paths? Then keep scrolling to see what's to come...
13. Building Laborers
From city centers to sprawling suburbs, you'd be hard-pressed to find a city in America that isn't crawling with skilled building laborers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, their field of expertise includes everything from physical labor on construction sites to power tool operation.
And according to the very same governmental body, the job was found to have a fatal injury rate of 15 workers to every 100,000. From mishandling of heavy equipment to falls and burns, these dependable laborers have a number of risks to look out for as they build our cities.
12. Construction Site Supervisors
But who do the building laborers call when there's trouble? That's right: next up on the list are these trusty site supervisors. Due to their expertise, they've gained positions of authority and mentorship on construction sites, which means that they're usually there when something's gone wrong to try and right the situation.
From iron beams to concrete slabs, these experienced supervisors are responsible not only for the materials on-site, but are also at the whim of the natural (but dangerous) element of human error that happens during a building project. For that reason, the BLS found that out of 100,000 supervisors, 18.7 lost their lives in 2019.
11. Miscellaneous Agricultural Workers
From farms to agricultural businesses, miscellaneous agricultural workers are doing their part to make sure that families around the United States have fresh fruits and vegetables on their tables and in the shops. But what about the risks facing them whilst their on the clock?
From harsh chemicals to strenuous hours under the hot sun, these laborers have a number of threats that await them each and every day on the job. Throw in the added risk of machinery malfunction and it's an unfortunate reality that the BLS found that 19.8 out of every 100,000 workers perished in 2019.
With their supervisors ranked earlier on this roundup, it's not so much of a surprise that groundskeepers have some of the riskiest work in America. It's clear that behind those pristine green fields lies a great deal of work with some pretty intense machinery.
They are able to keep the turfs so perfect because of the arsenal of chemicals and equipment at their disposal - but it comes with risk. From malfunctioning machinery to exposure to harsh chemicals, these workers definitely do not have it easy. The BLS reported that 19.8 per 100,000 workers passed away in 2019!
9. Agricultural Managers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic's O*NET database, farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers are the ones running the ship on some of the country's most productive farms. They "plan, direct, or coordinate the management or operation," in addition to supervising all activity.
And based on the figures of that very same database, the year 2019 saw 23.2 out of every 100,000 of these supervisors lose their life whilst working. From enormous machinery to exposure to harsh chemicals, there's no shortage of fatal threats on the job.
8. Steel and Iron Workers
No matter the height of the skyscraper, steel and ironworkers are some of the skilled laborers that are integral to the building of American city skylines. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job is equally as dangerous as it is important.
From raising and fusing iron and steel beams of enormous sizes to structural framework, this risk-filled work resulted in a tragic 26.3 deaths out of 100,000 workers in 2019 alone. Want to learn more about America's most dangerous jobs? Keep scrolling...
7. Truck Drivers
According to Forbes, the United States has seen a sharp increase in traffic accidents in recent years, even gaining the term "traffic epidemic" to describe the tragic state of affairs. But while roads are for most a recreational space, for others it's their place of work.
Truck drivers and other delivery workers rely on the public infrastructure to deliver products and goods - no matter the weather and no matter the time. Because of their increased exposure to accidents, the BLS, unfortunately, found that 26.8 per 100,000 drivers died in 2019 whilst on the clock.
6. Waste and Recycling Collectors
While we may only see them in the neighborhood once a week, these essential workers are busy 'round the clock keeping city streets and public places clean. And for anyone who's ever seen a landfill up close, it's clear that they haven't got a light workload at all.
A typical day in their life involves huge compression machinery, tractors, trucks, and dangerous objects discarded in the trash. It was reported by the BLS that an average of 35.2 per 100,000 workers were the victims of fatal accidents in 2019 alone.
5. Construction Site Aide
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, the official job description of a construction site aide is to "perform many tasks that require physical labor on construction sites." From basement foundations to roof work, these skilled assistants can do it all.
Due to the wide scope and nature of their work, these laborers are exposed to a number of threats including hazardous materials, malfunctioning machinery, falls, and much more. In fact, in 2019, the BLS found that 40 of every 100,000 workers in the field passed away at work due to a fatal accident.
Similar to phone line and electrical line technicians, you'd be hard-pressed to find a roofer that wasn't comfortable at sky-high heights. After all, these skilled workers spend most of their 9-5 on the job towering over the city streets as they piece together rooves shingle by shingle.
Whether it be shingles, asphalt, or other typical roof materials, these daredevil trades workers have to face extreme heights, unpredictable weather, and malfunctioning materials on the job. In 2019, it was reported by BLS that 54 per 100,000 roofers, unfortunately, died on the job.
3. Aircraft Operators
It's not every day that one receives a round of applause upon finishing a task at work - so this must be a sign that aircraft operators don't have it easy while they're on the job. But contrary to popular belief, the risks go way beyond the possibility of a plane crash.
For starters, CBS News reported that aircraft operators are exposed to high risks of insomnia, circulation problems, and even skin cancer due to the constant contact with UV rays. Consequently, the BLS found that 61.8 per 100,000 pilots tragically passed away in 2019.
Whether it be via ax or by motor-powered saws, forestry workers such as lumberjacks and logging workers are dealing with some big machinery and even bigger natural resources. And there's a precise method behind their work, accidents, unfortunately, do still happen.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 68.9 per 100,000 full-time workers in the field died during 2019. This was caused by some of the many threats they face on the job including falls and machine malfunction. Now it's time to see what was found to be the number one dangerous profession in America...
1. Fishing and Hunting Professionals
Coming in at first place are the fields of professional fishing and hunting. These tried and true American professions are not meant for the faint-hearted, as workers in these industries are often exposed to a myriad of threats and dangers on a daily basis.
Beyond the physical strain of the work, unpredictable environmental elements pose serious concerns for professional hunters and fishers alike. In fact, in just one year alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 145 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers.