Top 5 Most Dangerous Jobs in 2013

Many of us are lucky enough to work in very safe jobs. But not everyone’s job is considered safe. Across America, there are many jobs which are considered dangerous, mainly due to the fatality rates within each of these given jobs.

Each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports on the country’s most dangerous jobs. Let’s take a look at some that have appeared at the top of years’ past lists, and that more than likely will continue to take the lead in 2013.

1. Fishermen

Fishers & related fishing workers have continuously been at the top of the BLS’ dangerous jobs reports. Last year, the fatality rate per 100,000 workers was 121.2. For professional fishermen their risk is so high that it’s even begun to be difficult for them to get insurance. That said, the industry is working to reduce these risks. They’ve done this by providing increased trainings on fire prevention, damage control, and cold water survival.

On top of that, they have made big changes to their quota systems. Before, there was a fleet-wide cap in the fishing industry. Once that cap was reached, there was no more fishing needed. This would cause fishermen to have their crews working around the clock, going out no matter what the weather conditions were. This caused much higher risks to fishermen. With the new quota system, each boat is given an individual quota they can fill anytime within the season. This allows them much more flexibility with shifts, what weather they go out in, etc.

2. Loggers

Logging workers also continue to show up at the top of the list, usually coming in just behind fishermen. Last year, the fatality rate for loggers per 100,000 workers was 102.4. Loggers are at a very high risk of injury and death due to large falling trees and tree limbs, dangerous equipment (chainsaws, etc) steep & slippery work environments, rolling tree trunks, etc.

Like the fishing industry, the logging industry is also working to increase the safety of their workers. They have created and put to use safer equipment, as well as more safe cutting procedures. The hope is that, as these safety measures are implemented, this will result in lower logging workplace fatalities.

3. Airplane Pilots

Aircraft pilots & flight engineers also show up very often on this list of dangerous jobs. For airplane pilots last year, the fatality rate per 100,000 workers was 57. The most dangerous area for airplane pilots has found to be the skies above Alaska. Many older planes being used, paired with inexperienced pilots, as well as the state’s dangerous weather and terrain, have made this state the most dangerous to fly in.

Again, the industry is working to increase safety, especially for pilots in Alaska. They have begun to install better electronic systems to give better data on weather, terrain, etc. They have also set up cameras around the state to provide pilots with better visuals of the conditions they are flying in and into.

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4. Sanitation Workers

Refuse & recycle material collectors (AKA sanitation workers) also have a higher risk of fatality on the job than most other jobs. Last year, the fatality rate per 100,000 sanitation workers was 41.2. The most common hazards for sanitation workers are cars and trucks on the road, because the workers are regularly jumping to and from their vehicles on busy streets. They are also at risk from volatile chemicals, flammable materials, and backfiring garbage in the crushing machines.

5. Roofers

Roofers also are at risk when on the job. The fatality rate for roofers last year per 100,000 workers was 31.8. The most common cause of death for roofers are falls. On top of that, they are also at risk from being electrocuted, chemical exposures, and hoisting accidents. To work to reduce risk, there have been many new safety measures put into place, including safety harnesses, barriers near roof edges, etc.

These have been the 5 most dangerous jobs in years past. But, as you can see, many of these industries have implemented new safety precautions and procedures to work to make their industries safer work environments for their workers. So, it will be interesting to see how these new safety measures will affect the most dangerous jobs list and standings in 2013. Either way, the hope is that, as all industries work to provide safer conditions as a whole, we will see all workplace fatalities numbers go down.

Nicole is a guest writer for They help with workers compensation, personal injury cases, etc.

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