The World’s Deadliest Jobs

Tornado chasers and firefighters aren’t the only ones putting their lives in danger for their jobs. In fact, these two professions don’t even rank in the top 10 on  most lists of deadliest jobs.

Commercial Fishing

The show is called “Deadliest Catch” for a reason: Fishermen and fisherwomen have the most dangerous job in the United States.

While these workers are often paid well for their efforts, that still doesn’t shake the fact that a rate of 200 per 100,000 full-time fishermen and fisherwomen died in 2009. [1] Commercial fishing has been known to be a hazardous profession, and this data only supports the notion.

For example, in March 2012, four people died on the Lady Cecelia, which probably went down in a matter of seconds —  not long enough for someone to set off a flare. [2] It’s incidents like this that contribute to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and puts fishing at the top.


In the United States, mining fatalities in the private sector were up 74% in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, partly because of the multiple-fatality events that occurred that year. [3] ABC World Newsreported that 50 to 60 coal miners die every year in the U.S. while they work. [4]

The danger of mining isn’t unique to this country, either. In 2009, more than 2,600 Chinese coal miners died in accidents. [4] South Africa has recently seen an improvement in its statistics: Eleven miners died between January 1 and March 12 of 2012 compared to the 27 miners who died during that same period in 2011. [5] This has happened in light of an increased number of mining inspections.


Logging workers come in as the second most-dangerous job in the U.S., according to the BLS. [1] There were 59 logging worker fatalities in 2010 compared to 36 fatalities in 2009. [3] Working with heavy machinery and large falling branches make this job as dangerous as it is.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, loggers typically lived in camps near their worksites. [6] These camps were often infested with diseases, and when the loggers usually worked long hours while wearing the same clothes for weeks.

Labor unions helped increase the quality of work conditions, and the profession isn’t the same today. But the history shows that this job has never been an easy one.

Construction Work

Construction generally has a high rate of fatalities, as well, though the rates have fallen in recent years.

According to the BLS, fatal work injuries in the private sector of construction are down about 40% since 2006. However, in the private sector, the construction industry saw the largest number of deaths, and construction workers tend to show up on the top 10 list of most dangerous jobs. [1]

When Careercast.com ranked the worst jobs in America, being a construction worker ranked at No. 10. [7] When choosing which jobs would make the top 10, the site considered which jobs were challenging, dangerous, and were paid the worst salaries. Construction workers make an average salary of $29,211.


You might not realize which jobs account for the most work-related deaths each year. A lot of these professions are located out of the typical person’s daily life, like the wooded workplaces of loggers and the turbulent seas of fishermen. However, other types, like construction work, are around you all the time. What other jobs do you think would rank in the most dangerous?

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