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Most Dangerous Occupations in America

by | May 18, 2016 | Occupational Diseases, Workers' Compensation

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), 4,679 workers were killed in workplace accidents in 2014. On average, that equated to 13 deaths per a day and nearly 90 each week.

But the numbers don’t stop there. Each year, nearly four million workers are seriously injured on the job, and tens of thousands more die of an occupational disease, according to OSHA.

In addition to OSHA’s tracking of workplace accidents, injuries and fatalities, the U.S. Department of Labor also keeps track of how many workers are killed on the job, and the reasons why.

In April 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor published its latest data covering the seven years prior to 2013, data which you may find alarming. The following list itemizes the 15 most deadly occupations, beginning with the deadliest occupation of them all – fishing.

  1. Fishing
  2. Logging
  3. Being an aircraft pilot
  4. Extraction
  5. Iron and steel
  6. Roofing
  7. Garbage collecting
  8. Farming and ranching
  9. Driving, sales, and truck driving
  10. Installing or repairing power lines
  11. Agricultural work
  12. Construction
  13. Driving a taxi or chauffer
  14. Law enforcement (police)
  15. Someone who manages the construction trade

When you read the above list, you’ll notice that we didn’t even mention firefighters. That’s because statistically, they are less likely to die on the job than maintenance workers, landscape contractors, industrial machinery workers, electricians, and welding workers, which all rank lower than top 15 deadliest jobs.

Surprisingly, garbage collectors rank 7th, just behind roofers. Garbage collectors die in work-related accidents about four more times more often than security guards and firefighters, according to Bloomberg.

Of those garbage collector deaths, 69% of the workers died in transportation incidents. So, the next time you see your garbage man, you may have more respect for his job than you did before.


If you were injured on the job, or if you are suffering from an occupational disease, we urge you to contact our office for a free consultation with a New York workers’ compensation attorney. For over 50 years, we have serviced NYC residents and recovered hundreds and millions of dollars on their behalf.