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America’s Deadliest Jobs 2012

This Year's Deadliest Jobs

Pelsen Zhao | Getty Images

In 2011, 4,609 people were fatally injured on the job, according to an annual report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That total works out to 3.5 fatal work injuries per every 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. By this count, the workplace is .1 percent safer than it was 2010.


Among the findings in the BLS' report, violence and other injuries from people and animals accounted for 780 fatalities, or about 17 percent, which includes 458 homicides and 242 suicides. In both those categories, shootings were the most frequent manner of death. Of those 780 fatalities, 37 deaths were either animal or insect related.


The BLS report found that in terms of fatal work injury rate— the number of deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers— agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting are among the most deadly industries, with a rate of 24.4 per 100,000 workers.


The industry with the lowest is education and health services, with .8 per 100,000. In terms of the sheer number of work-related deaths, the industry with the most is transportation and warehousing, with a total of 733. The industry with the least is utilities, with 39 fatal work injuries.


The following 10 professions were found to have the highest fatal work injury rates. These fatal injury rates do not account for workers under 16, volunteers or resident military.


By Colleen Kane
Posted 15 November, 2012

10. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

Emmanuel Dunand | AFP | Getty Images

Number of fatal work injuries: 63

Fatal work injury rate (per 100,000 workers): 19.7


In another trend emerging from the year's data, two out of every five fatal work injuries resulted from transportation incidents, with 57 percent of those on the roadway and 11 percent non-roadway (such as a tractor in a field). Of that percentage, about 16 percent were comprised of pedestrians struck by vehicles.

9. Electrical-power line installers and repairers

Sam Hodgson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Number of fatal work injuries: 27

Fatal work injury rate (per 100,000 workers): 20.3


In all, the BLS report showed 171 deaths from exposure to electricity, or four percent of all fatal work injuries.

8. Driver/ sales workers and truck drivers

Joel Hume | Getty Images

Number of fatal work injuries: 759

Fatal work injury rate (per 100,000 workers): 24


There was a six percent jump in work-related fatal injuries in this subcategory of driver/sales workers and truck drivers from 2010. The larger story is that this is part of transportation and material moving showed the highest level of fatalities since 2008 – a total of about a quarter of all occupational fatalities.

7. Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers

Joe McNally | Getty Images

Number of fatal work injuries: 260

Fatal work injury rate (per 100,000 workers): 25.3


The number of fatal work injuries in this job category is down five percent from the 2010 stats, reversing the previous year's increase.

6. Structural iron and steel workers

Ty Wright | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Number of fatal work injuries: 16

Fatal work injury rate (per 100,000 workers): 26.9


Fatal falls, slips or trips account for 666 deaths, or 14 percent of all fatal work injuries.

5. Roofers

Tim Boyle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Number of fatal work injuries: 56

Fatal work injury rate (per 100,000 workers): 31.8


Falls to a lower level caused 541 deadly work injuries in 2011, or 12 percent of all injuries that year.

4. Refuse and recyclable metal collectors

Sam Hodgson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Number of fatal work injuries: 34

Fatal work injury rate (per 100,000 workers): 41.2


Some 119 deaths in 2011 resulted from workers getting caught in running equipment or machinery, or about three percent of deaths.

3. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers

Alexander Hassenstein | Getty Images

Number of fatal work injuries: 72

Fatal work injury rate (per 100,000 workers): 57


There were 146 aircraft incidents in 2011 leading to worker death, a total of three percent of all 2011 deaths.

2. Logging workers

Noah Clayton | The Image Bank | Getty Images

Number of fatal work injuries: 64

Fatal work injury rate (per 100,000 workers): 102.4


In 2011, the fatalities for logging workers rose by four deaths.

1. Fishers and related fishing industry workers

Jim Paulin | AP

Number of fatal work injuries: 40

Fatal work injury rate (per 100,000 workers): 121.2


For fisheries, the rate of deaths in 2011 was approximately equal to 2010.