18 of the Most Dangerous Jobs Around the World
Earning a living could cost you your life if you have one of these risky careers.
The only thing scarier than chopping down a tall, heavy tree is operating heavy machinery to take one down while you’re suspended in the air. In 2016, logging workers had the most dangerous occupation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with 91 reported workplace fatalities—an average of 135.9 out of 100,000 workers. Most deaths were from falling trees or equipment errors.
Trash and recycling collectors
The median annual salary for waste workers is $40,000, but some make $100,000 or more annually. They earn that money by keeping our streets clean, handling stinky refuse, and risking their lives on a daily basis. Trash and recycling collectors have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world and the fifth most dangerous job in the United States. According to the latest data from the BLS, 31 total deaths were recorded in 2016, many from workers falling off trucks, getting hit by vehicles while on the job, or accidents with machinery. Check out these 9 other unusual high-paying jobs that aren’t for everyone.
Electricity and water are usually two things that don’t mix, but for underwater welders, it’s just another part of the job. Employees in this field repair pipelines, ships, dams, and more, and face a series of dangers, including explosions and differential pressure hazards. For example, when a diver is trapped under the high-pressure flow of water, they’re at risk of drowning. While the BLS doesn’t track fatalities in this field, research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows underwater welders die at a rate that is 40 times higher than America’s national average. It’s important to note that the study is more than 20 years old, and studies aren’t frequently updated due to the small population size in this field. Discover the weird jobs you won’t believe actually existed.
The Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 that took the lives of 11 men reminded the world that oil rig workers have one of the most dangerous jobs, both offshore and onshore. Heights, heavy equipment, and dangerous materials are just a few risky elements of the job. Surprisingly, the greatest cause of death for oil and extraction laborers was vehicle crashes. Fatigue and long, unsafe travels to and from rigs are two of the reasons these accidents happen so often, according to the CDC. These will be the most in-demand jobs in 2020.
Roofers walk around the tops of our homes and office buildings, so it’s not surprising that they have the fourth highest rate of fatalities on the job in the United States, according to the latest data from the BLS. One hundred workers died in 2016, most of them from falling. This risk is not new to the industry, considering falls from roofs accounted for one-third of all fall-related construction deaths between 1992 and 2009.
Sure, animal bites, infections, and illnesses can harm veterinarians, but in Australia, it’s mental health that plagues workers in this industry. According to the Australian Veterinary Association, these employees are up to four times more likely to fall victim to suicide than the rest of the Australian population. Studies don’t pinpoint one specific reason for the high suicide rate, but factors including high stress, emotional hardships associated with euthanasia, and financial strain are a few common obstacles for these professionals. Don’t miss the 50 other secrets your veterinarian won’t tell you.
There’s a reason Deadliest Catch is such a popular show. The risk of someone dying on the job is extremely high, which naturally captivates anxious TV audiences. Fishers and related fishing workers ranked as the second most dangerous job in the United States, according to the latest available data from BLS. Fishermen face the unexpected elements of nature on open waters, far away from any medical aid, gambling with their lives in hopes of a hefty catch and payday. The highest cause of death in this industry, as you probably guessed, is drowning.
Structural iron and steel workers
Heights, steel beams, collapsing walls, electrical lines, and swinging objects are just a few elements that make this gig so risky. Structural iron and steel workers rank as the sixth most dangerous job in the United States with a rate of 25.1 fatalities out of 100,000 workers, according to the BLS. Falls account for most of the deaths in this field, while injuries to iron and steel workers are often from cuts, muscle strains, broken bones, and burns. Don’t miss these 10 cool jobs you never knew existed.
Aircraft pilot and flight engineers
While commercial airline safety has improved in recent years, 75 aircraft navigators from smaller aircrafts—including air-taxis and rural pilots—died in 2016, according to the BLS. Human error accounts for many aircraft pilot and flight engineer deaths on the job, along with mechanical failure and turbulent weather.
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Bull riding is a popular and continuously growing sport in America and Australia, with the best professional bull riders raking in millions over the years. It’s also the rodeo sport with the highest rate of injury to humans, making it one of the most dangerous jobs. According to a six-year Australian study, bull-riding injuries are becoming more frequent, with the most common wounds occurring on the limbs, chest, and brain. Don’t miss these 10 fascinating jobs you never knew existed.