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These are the most dangerous jobs in America

Dangers highway workers face on job
Baltimore bridge collapse highlights dangers highway workers face 04:19

Farming, forestry, and fishing and hunting top the list of America's deadliest jobs, a recent analysis shows. 

Those professions have the highest rate of employee fatalities, at 18.6 deaths per 100,000 workers, the AFL-CIO found in the study, which is based on labor data from 2022 (the latest year available). Other highly dangerous jobs consisted of working in mines, quarries and oil extraction (16.6 deaths per 100,000 workers); transportation and warehousing (14.1); and construction (9.6).

Overall, nearly 5,500 workers died on the job in the U.S. in 2022, up from 5,190 the previous year, according to the union's analysis.

Fatalities are on the rise, in part, because some employees are afraid of potential retaliation if they highlight dangerous conditions at their job, resulting in many workers operating in an unsafe environment, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in a statement. Employee overdosing on drugs while at work, deadly violence against co-workers and suicides have also contributed to the jump in workplace deaths, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  

For many workers, agriculture has long been a hazardous job. Farmers and farmhands are exposed to lung-harming dust, while animal droppings also contain mold or bacteria, according to federal health data. Falls from ladders, farm machinery and grain bins pose another risk. 

Meanwhile, miners often work in confined underground spaces where toxic or explosive gasses, such as hydrogen sulfide or methane, can be released, and also face the risk of collapses. 

Black lung threat increasing among coal miners 12:58

Not surprisingly, states with large numbers of agricultural and extraction industry workers had the highest fatality rate, with Wyoming topping the list at 12.7 deaths for every 100,000 workers, according to the AFL-CIO. Rounding out the list was North Dakota (9.8 deaths); Mississippi (6.9); New Mexico and West Virginia (6.8); and Louisiana (6.4).

The AFL-CIO analysis also found that worker fatality rates among workers of color were higher than for other employees. The death rate for Latino workers in 2022 was 4.6 for every 100,000 workers, compared with 3.7 for all workers. The fatality rate for Black employees was 4.2 for every 100,000 workers, its highest level in nearly 15 years, the union said. 

"The recent bridge collapse tragedy in Baltimore was responsible for the deaths of six Latino immigrant laborers who were doing roadwork on the bridge at the time of collapse," AFL-CIO researchers wrote. "This incident underscores the dangerous work immigrants do every day to provide for people in the United States and the toll it takes on their families and communities when workplaces are not safe."

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