10 of the most dangerous jobs
Do you feel safe at work? The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) reports that nearly 4,600 workers died on the job in the U.S in 2013 or, on average, about 12 workers each day.
Still, that is down from an average of 38 worker deaths per day in 1970, while the total in 2013 (the latest year for which data is available) represents the second-lowest number of fatalities on the job since OSHA started tracking them in 1992.
In some types of work, however, danger remains part of the job description, according to a report by CareerCast.com.
Read on for the job-search site's listing of the 10 deadliest jobs in America. Also listed is each occupation's median pay and an estimate of how much they are expected to grow by 2022.
Annual median wage/Projected growth by 2022: $98,410, -1 percent
A coveted, high-paying position, airline pilots are constantly responsible for the lives and safety of others. That responsibility requires high levels of vigilance on the job, which leads to stress-related health issues such as insomnia. Pilots also face a variety of health risks that are unique to their job, including deep vein thrombosis, dehydration and high rates of skin cancer.
Animal care worker
Annual median wage/projected growth by 2022: $19,970, 15 percent
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there is an average of 63 fatal injuries and 12,500 nonfatal injuries and illnesses involving animals every year. People working with large domestic animals, such as horses, cattle and other livestock, are constantly exposing themselves to danger.
"Large livestock are powerful, quick, protective of their territory and offspring, and especially unpredictable during breeding and birthing periods," says a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, which also noted that, between 2003 and 2008, 108 human deaths were blamed on cattle.
Annual median wage/projected growth by 2022: $29,160, 25 percent
According to OSHA, more than 20 percent of private-sector worker fatalities recorded in the U.S. in 2013 took place on construction jobs. The leading, or "fatal four," causes of worker deaths on construction sites were falls, being stuck by an object, electrocution, and being caught in or between objects. Such accidents accounted for nearly 60 percent of deaths in the field.
Emergency medical technician
Annual median wage/Projected growth by 2022: $31,020, 23 percent
While emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, work to save lives, they often find themselves exposed to life-threatening situations as they treat and transport the sick and injured. A CDC report found emergency medical services (EMS) personnel in the U.S. had an estimated fatality rate of 12.7 per 100,000 workers, more than twice the national average.
Forty-ﬁve percent of EMS worker deaths were reportedly the result of vehicle collisions, with 31 percent due to air transportation incidents and 12 percent to EMT personnel being struck by vehicles. And then there are EMT-related injuries particular to their profession, such as being cut or stuck by medical equipment, or exposure to infectious diseases.
Enlisted military personnel (Private First Class E-2, U.S. Army)
Annual median wage/Projected growth by 2022: $21,664, n/a
American military personnel are constantly in harm's way, whether during deployments in war zones, participation in humanitarian missions, or working in close proximity to large, potentally lethal machinery. Along with the heavy physical demands, soldiers must also cope with job-related stresses like constant uncertainty and travel. And even after serving their country, a high percentage of veterans must cope with psychological ailments like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Annual median wage/Projected growth by 2022: $45,250, 7 percent
Making your living by walking into, rather than running away from, a burning building is practically the definition of a dangerous profession. Last year, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 64 firefighters died while on-duty in the U.S. Sudden cardiac incidents accounted for more than half of those deaths.
NFPA also estimated that in 2013 nearly 66,000 firefighters were injured in the line of duty, with close to half of those injuries taking place during "fireground operations." The leading types of injuries for firefighters were strains, sprains or muscular pain, wounds, cuts, and bruising.
Heavy/tractor-trailer truck driver
Annual median wage/Projected growth by 2022: $38,200, 11 percent
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 756 truck drivers were killed in work-related incidents in 2012, while over 65,000 others were injured. The rate of fatal and non-fatal injuries and illnesses for both heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, as well as for their colleagues in smaller deliver trucks, was higher than the national average for all private industry occupations.
The International Labor Organization notes that truck drivers face a higher risk of road accidents than other drivers. They also face injuries from changing tires and doing field repairs to their vehicles, while long hours of driving increases back, leg and arm strain. Truck drivers are also at a higher-than-average risk of becoming the targets of physical violence or crime at roadside rest stops, especially if they are carrying valuable cargo.
Annual median wage/Projected growth by 2022: $33,630, -9 percent
"By many measures, logging is the most dangerous occupation in the United States," says an OSHA brief on the profession. Beyond working with high-powered chain saws and huge logging machinery, loggers also have to deal with what the agency calls the "massive weights and irresistible momentum of falling, rolling, and sliding trees and logs." Factor in harsh work conditions due to inclement weather and uneven terrain in remote work sites and you're in a very dangerous work environment. There were 62 logging industry deaths reported in 2013.
Annual median wage/Projected growth by 2022: $48,190, -1 percent
Working with recently arrested individuals, as well as people awaiting trial or already serving prison sentences, is just part of the job for corrections officers. The American Correctional Association notes that correction officers have one of the highest rates of nonfatal, work-related injuries of all U.S. workers. Nearly 40 percent of injuries came from assaults, confrontations with inmates and other acts of violence.
Annual median wage/Projected growth by 2022: $56,980, 5 percent
The dangers of police work are obvious and well-known. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund says that 126 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty in 2014. In a statement, NLEOMF CEO Craig Floyd last year called those numbers "a stark reminder that some 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers go out each and every day putting their lives on the line for our safety and protection."