US Occupations With the Most Fatalities
Depending on your profession, there’s a decent chance that you’ve received some training in how to do your job safely and avoid accidents. Unfortunately, this does not stop all workplace accidents from happening, either through the negligence of another worker, a mistake that you make yourself, or simple unavoidable situations that may occur from time to time.
There are actually more than 4500 work-related deaths in the United States every year. In 2014, there were more than 4800. You might be surprised to learn that these numbers are actually pretty low, compared to the rate of work-related deaths before the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Less than 45 years ago, before OSHA existed, there were more than 14,000 deaths from work-related injuries each year.
If you’ve never seen someone seriously injured or killed in your workplace, then you may count yourself as fortunate in the US workforce, and you may be asking where these deaths are happening? What industries are responsible for the thousands of deaths that happen each year?
At Brown, Moore & Associates, we work with many grieving families when workplace accidents lead to death, so we have a unique view into the world of occupational hazards. How likely a fatality is to occur in your workplace depends entirely on the industry and occupation, factoring in the number of deaths per 100K full-time workers. Following are the top ten US occupations and industries with the highest likelihood of fatality.
01) The Logging Industry Sees More Than 75 Deaths Per Year
The logging industry includes more than 53K workers, and has a death rate of 110.9 deaths per 100K workers. It involves working outside in all kinds of weather, often far away from any emergency room or ambulance services. Loggers work at great heights with equipment that is dangerous, including chainsaws. Loggers are at risk of serious injury and death from these dangerous logging industry tools, from falling trees, and from injuries caused by falling from a height. They are further at risk because it can be difficult to receive the appropriate emergency medical treatment fast enough to save a life.
02) The Fishing Industry Sees More than 20 Deaths Per Year
The fishing industry may see only 20 deaths per year, which seems small by comparison to many other industries, but it comes in at a rate of 80.9 deaths per 100K workers. Fishing also sounds like a reasonably safe occupation until you look further into the conditions and the type of work that is really accomplished. When you hear the word, ‘fishing,’ you picture someone standing with a fishing pole by a lake. If you are more informed about the industry, you might know that it really involves ships and fishing nets, and lots of people cooperating to haul in large amounts of fish. The environment includes all kinds of weather conditions, open waters, and slippery decks. The machinery used can malfunction, and large, crashing waves can wash people over the side of the ship, causing workers to drown, which is the most common cause of death.
03) The Aircraft and Flight Industry Sees More than 80 Deaths Per Year
The aircraft and flight industry includes private and commercial airplane pilots, helicopter pilots, crop dusters, and flight engineers. This industry includes more than 119K pilots and flight engineers and has a death rate of 64 deaths per 100K workers. The hazards involved include the fatigue and jetlag associated with flying long distances, the danger of the machinery and the height, and imperfect landing areas. Those who pilot rescue helicopters are at risk of the limited visibility at night and the potential for bad weather when attempting to complete rescue missions. Further, they fly at low levels, which is also dangerous because of the potential for running into a power line, trees, birds, etc. Those who operate crop duster planes are at risk of toxic chemical exposure, as well as the usual risks of flight, including low altitudes.
04) The Roofing Industry Sees More than 80 Deaths Per Year
The roofing industry is a part of the construction industry, and it involves a lot of physical labor completed in inclement weather and at heights. The rate of death in this industry is 47.4 deaths per 100K workers. Roofers are at risk of heat stroke, falls from heights (such as scaffolding, ladders, and, of course, roofs), and burns from equipment and tar.
05) The Sanitation Industry Sees More than 25 Deaths Per Year
The sanitation industry includes garbage collectors, recycling collectors, and workers who use compactors and conveyer belts to sort and dispose of these items. This industry has a death rate of 35.8 deaths per 100K workers. It involves physical labor and exposure to dangerous machinery, the risk of being hit by a car, and risks associated with falling items.
06) The Agricultural Industry Sees Approximately 270 Deaths Per Year
The agricultural industry includes agricultural management, farming, and ranching. These individuals are outdoor workers, who work in all weather, and who use heavy machinery and dangerous tools, and in many cases working with livestock. Many have to make use of toxic chemicals, as well, and all of these risks result in a death rate of 26.7 per 100K workers.
07) The Iron and Steel Industry Sees Approximately 15 Deaths Per Year
The iron and steel industry is another part of the construction industry, which involves the use of iron and steel to build and support structures, including buildings, roads, and bridges. Many of these workers are working at heights and in the heat. They are at risk of falling from heights, and being struck by objects and heavy equipment. The death rate is 25.2 per 100K workers.
08) The Delivery Driver and Sales Industry Sees Approximately 880 Deaths Per Year
The delivery driver and sales industry involves delivery truck drivers, delivery van drivers, and sales persons who carry packages and go door to door to sell their wares. These workers are at risk of fatigue from driving long distances, various forms of auto accident, and the risk of encountering dangerous dogs when going to people’s homes. Most of the deaths in this industry are auto accident related, and the death rate is 24.7 deaths per 100K workers.
09) The Electrical Power Line Industry Sees Approximately 25 Deaths Per Year
The electrical power line industry includes workers who install and repair cables for power systems, fiber optics systems, and telecommunications systems. These workers often work at heights with dangerous, high voltage electrical equipment. They work in all sorts of severe weather conditions, and are at risk of falling or getting electrocuted. The death rate in this industry is 19.2 deaths per 100K workers.
10) The Transportation Industry Sees More than 65 Deaths Per Year
Occupations in the transportation industry include taxi drivers, chauffeurs, bus drivers, and more. These workers transport individuals to and from various locations, and are at risk of auto accidents, fatigue from long periods of driving, and tremendous stress. They are also at risk of encountering dangerous people who wish to rob, attack, or otherwise harm them. Late night drivers are at greatest risk of violent crimes. The death rate is 18 deaths per 100K workers.
What To Do When A Loved One Is Killed By a Work Related Injury
Workers’ compensation is available to all US employees, regardless of their profession. Even if the worker made a mistake that caused his or her injury and/or death, that individual and/or their family is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Learn more by contacting a dedicated North Carolina workers’ compensation claim attorney at Brown, Moore & Associates, PLLC for a free consultation.