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The 10 most dangerous jobs in the United States

While fatality rates are declining according to preliminary results from the 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, it's startling to know that an average of 13 people die on the job every day. The most dangerous workplace activity is driving, with accidents on the road representing almost one-quarter of all work-related deaths.

The 10 deadliest occupations, according to the data are:

  1. Fishermen, with a fatality rate of 121 per 100,000 workers. Fishermen in the United States have the highest fatality rate for a profession due in part to malfunctioning gear, rough seas, bad weather and faulty watercraft.
  2. Loggers, saw an increase in occupational fatalities resulting from accidents involving blunt force; a fatality rate of 102 per 100,000 workers.
  3. Pilots, especially in the skies over Alaska, where many of the overall 72 fatalities occurred in 2011, a fatality rate of 57 per 100,000 workers.
  4. Sanitation workers, of which 34 died in 2011, mostly getting hit by cars and trucks, a fatality rate of 41 per 100,000 workers.
  5. Roofers, with a fatality rate of 32 per 100,000 workers. Fifty-six roofers died on the job in 2011.
  6. Ironworkers, with a fatality rate of 27 per 100,000 workers. Sixteen workers died in 2011, mostly from falls and electrocutions from contacts with power lines.
  7. Farmers and ranchers, with 260 fatalities in 2011, and a fatality rate of 25 per 100,000 workers.
  8. Truckers, with the highest death toll of any occupation-759-and a fatality rate of 24 per 100,000 workers. Fatal work injuries have risen for two consecutive years.
  9. Electrical power line workers, of which 27 died in 2011, a fatality rate of 20 per 100,000 workers.
  10. Taxi drivers, who risk being the victims of crime. Sixty-three drivers died in 2011, a fatality rate of 20 per 100,000 workers.


Fatal work injuries were higher for workers 20 to 24 years of age, rising to 288 in 2011 from 245 in 2010, an increase of 18 percent. For workers 55 years of age or older and workers under the age of 18, fatal work injuries were down. Fatal work injuries involving women increased slightly in 2011 to 375, but declined by two percent for men to 4,234 in 2011 from 4,322 in 2010. Men, by far, experienced most of the fatalities overall at 92 percent (4,234 deaths).

The number of fatal work injuries in 2011 involving non-Hispanic white workers (3,257) declined slightly, and rose slightly for black workers (433). For black workers, this increase follows three years of declining numbers of fatal injuries.

Fatal work injuries among Hispanic workers rose to 729 in 2011 from 707 in 2010, an increase of three percent. The higher count in 2011 was the first increase in fatal injuries for Hispanic workers since 2006. Of the 729 fatal work injuries involving Hispanics, 500 (69 percent) involved foreign-born workers. Overall, there were 823 fatal work injuries involving foreign-born workers in 2011, most of whom (338 or 41 percent) were born in Mexico.