10 Most Dangerous Jobs In The U.S.

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What makes a job dangerous and potentially fatal? It can be any number of factors, including the type of work and where it's performed. Last year, as the Labor Department recently reported, 4,609 people lost their lives on the job, a rate equal to 3.5 deaths for every 100,000 full-time workers.

While the preliminary number is alarming, it is 2 percent less than 2010's tally, when 4,690 workplace fatalities were recorded. What's more, industries known for high fatality rates saw a downward trend in year-over-year deaths.

The number of fatal work injuries in the private construction sector declined by 7 percent last year, CareerBuilder notes, adding that economic conditions, which caused the delay or termination of construction projects, may explain some of the decline.

Curious about which careers are America's most dangerous? You might be surprised by the jobs on this list. Some seem mundane. Some are incredibly common. Check out the gallery below, which lists the nation's 10 most dangerous jobs, as measured by number of deaths for every 100,000 full-time workers.


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America's 10 Most Dangerous Jobs
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10 Most Dangerous Jobs In The U.S.

Fatal work injury rate: 19.7.

Number of fatal work injuries: 63.

Projected job growth (through 2020): 20 percent (faster than average).

Median pay (2010): $22,440 a year -- $10.79 an hour.

Why it's dangerous: The sheer number of hours logged by taxi drivers and chauffeurs behind the wheel increases the odds of being in an accident. Additionally, heavy traffic and other difficult situations contribute to high levels of stress that many drivers experience.

Fatal work injury rate: 20.3.

Number of fatal work injuries: 27.

Projected job growth: 13 percent (about as fast as average).

Median pay: $54,290 a year -- $26.10 an hour.

Why it's dangerous: Line workers encounter serious hazards on the job, including working with high-voltage electricity often at great heights. The work can also be physically demanding.

Fatal work injury rate: 24.

Number of fatal work injuries: 759.

Projected job growth: 13 percent (about as fast as average).

Median pay: $27,050 a year -- $13 an hour.

Why it's dangerous: Like taxi drivers and chauffeurs, those who drive to make sales and deliveries spend many hours behind the wheel, increasing their odds of being an accident. Further, this can be a physically demanding job. When loading and unloading cargo, drivers do a lot of lifting, carrying and walking.

Fatal work injury rate: 25.3.

Number of fatal work injuries: 260.

Projected job growth: -8 percent (moderate decline).

Median pay: $60,750 a year -- $29.21 an hour.

Why it's dangerous: Farmers and ranchers face a number of hazards on the job, including operating large machinery, as well as chemical and environmental hazards. The jobs are also physically demanding and could require frequent interaction with large livestock and other animals.

Fatal work injury rate: 26.9.

Number of fatal work injuries: 16.

Projected job growth: 22 percent (faster than average).

Median pay: $44,540 a year -- $21.42 an hour.

Why it's dangerous: Workers in these fields, also known as ironworkers, perform physically demanding work often performed at great heights (such as when building skyscrapers or bridges). They usually work outside in all types of weather.

Fatal work injury rate: 31.8.

Number of fatal work injuries: 56.

Projected job growth: 18 percent (about as fast as average).

Median pay: $34,220 a year -- $16.45 an hour.

Why it's dangerous: Roofers frequently work at heights well above ground and on steeply pitched roofs. The work is strenuous and tiring, and involves heavy lifting, as well as climbing and bending.

Fatal work injury rate: 41.2.

Number of fatal work injuries: 34.

Projected job growth: 14 percent (about as fast as average).

Median pay: $22,560 a year -- $10.85 an hour.

Why it's dangerous: The job frequently involves heavy lifting and handling of potentially dangerous materials. Also, the job may require working around moving vehicles and in traffic.

Fatal work injury rate: 57.

Number of fatal work injuries: 72.

Projected job growth: 11 percent (about as fast as average).

Median pay: $92,060 a year.

Why it's dangerous: The job includes all manner of aircraft, including small planes and helicopters, which are used in responding to natural disasters and other emergencies.

Fatal work injury rate: 102.4

Number of fatal work injuries: 64

Projected job growth: 4 percent (slower than average).

Median pay: $32,870 a year -- $15.80 an hour.

Why it's dangerous: Loggers work long hours outdoors, sometimes in poor weather and often in isolated areas. The work sometimes involves working high above ground and is physically demanding.

Fatal work injury rate: 121.2.

Number of fatal work injuries: 40.

Projected job growth: -6 percent (moderate decline).

Median pay: $25,590 a year -- $12.30 an hour.

Why it's dangerous: Commercial fishers encounter a number of workplace hazards, including large nets and motor-operated fishing lines. Vessel disasters and falls overboard are frequent causes of injury and death.

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