Deadliest Jobs

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Four to five thousand American workers die from injuries on the job each year, with the most dangerous jobs in logging, fishing, and piloting:

Some occupations that seem dangerous, like firefighting and tractor operation, are actually relatively safe; both of those jobs, for example, are less dangerous than being a car mechanic. Some of the safest jobs of all, with less than 10 deaths among all full-time workers, include computer and mathematical professions, and legal occupations.

Forty-one percent of all fatal workplace injuries happened in transportation incidents, which include car accidents, overturned vehicles and plane crashes. More than half (58%) of the 1,789 fatal transportation-related incidents occurred on highways, and involved motorized land vehicles.

The second-highest cause of worker fatalities was assaults and violent acts, which accounted for 18% of deaths. The preliminary data shows that workplace suicides fell slightly in 2010 to 258 after climbing to a high of 263 the year before.

Violence took the lives of 767 workers last year; with 463 homicides and 225 suicides. (Work-related suicides declined by 10% from 2011 totals, but violence accounted for about 17% of all fatal work injuries in 2012.) Shootings were the most frequent manner of death in both.

Slips, falls and trips killed 668 workers in 2012–about 15% of all workplace injuries. A total of 509 workers were fatally injured after being struck by equipment or objects on the job.

There were 142 multiple-fatality incidents–incidents where more than one worker was killed–in 2012, in which 341 workers died.

Ninety-two percent, or 4,045 of all on-the-job fatalities were among men, and the remaining 8%, or 338, were women.


  1. Bill says:

    The number of female deaths seems high to me. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

    “There were 4,101 fatal work injuries among men in 2013 compared with 4,277 in 2012, and fatal injuries among women were lower by 14 percent in 2013 to 302 from 351 in 2012.”

    I think that’s 6.8% female in 2013.

    Also, I wonder how many female deaths were effectively random and accidental: riding on a plane, train, taxi, etc. The following also from BLS:

    “Of the 1,740 transportation-related fatal injuries in 2013, nearly 3 out of every 5 (991 cases) were roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles… About 16 percent of fatal transportation incidents (284 cases) in 2013 involved pedestrians who were struck by vehicles.”

    I note that for firefighters, the stat for women is lower; percentage of women firefighters is probably around 3-4% (from 2012):

    “Of the 81 firefighters who died while on-duty in 2012, 80 were male and one was female.”

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