America’s 10 Deadliest Jobs

By Frank Kenna

While the phrase workplace safety is familiar to most companies, it’s particularly top of mind for some. Those are the ones named as America’s most dangerous workplaces in a recent release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The list below shows the top 10, with death-per-100,000 employees ranging from 22 to 142.  By comparison, the average fatal workplace injury rate for U.S. workers in 2009 was 3.3 per 100,000.  This means that those lowest on the list, agricultural workers, were over 6 times more likely to have a fatal work injury than the average worker.  And those in the #1 category, Fishing Workers, had a rate an astounding 43 times higher than average.

These industries are more dangerous than others due to the inherent risky behaviors dictated by the type of jobs their employees must perform.  It’s worth noting that they’ve made great strides even since just last year: transportation fatalities decreased 27%, fatal falls declined 12 percent, and fatalities involving contact with objects or equipment were down 22 percent.  This is real progress.  But there is so much more to be done.

A key to communicating these industries’ important safety topics is using repeated visual exposure in their messaging.  While putting up some safety posters or coming up with a new safety slogan may be a good idea, it’s just a quick fix.  For safety messaging to sink in, it must be integrated into a company’s communications program, involve employees, and be continually changing its look and feel –all while staying on message.

Occupation (Death per 100,000)
1 Fishers and Fishing Workers 142
2 Pilots and Flight Engineers 88
3 Loggers 82
4 Iron and Steel Workers 61
5 Refuse and Recyclable Materials Collectors 42
6 Farmers and Ranchers 38
7 Electrical Power Line Workers 35
8 Roofers 34
9 Drivers (truckers and salespeople) 27
10 Agricultural Workers 22

Sharon Toelle
September 20, 2010

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