Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs of 2019

April 19, 2019
Our annual look at the most dangerous occupations in the U.S., as measured by fatal work injury rate.

Time to take a look at the updated list of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, based on data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Now, there are two different ways to answer the question of “What’s the most dangerous job?”

  • By total number of fatalities.
  • By fatal work injury rate.

Going by sheer number of on-the-job deaths, truck drivers and sales drivers was by far the most dangerous, accounting for nearly 1,000 (987) deaths in 2017. However, there are also a lot more truck drivers than some of the other occupations, and the BLS data breaks it down to identify the overall danger factor of a job. The fatal work injury rate is calculated per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. As a result, there are other occupations on the list with a higher percentage of its workers suffering fatal injuries than drivers (which ended up farther down the list, though certainly still in the Top 10).

The biggest difference between last year’s ranking and this year’s is there’s a new occupation at the top of the list, displacing logging workers (which is still very high on the list). Also, supervisors of construction workers (which ranked at #9 last year), fell off the list completely, to be supplanted by electrical powerline installers and repairers.

The good news out of the BLS report is that the total number of fatal work injuries in the U.S. in 2017 was down slightly from 2016: 5,147 vs 5,190. That’s less than even a 1% drop (0.82%, to be exact), but it does represent an improvement, and given the increase number of people working in 2017 vs. 2016, perhaps the improvement is a bit more significant that it seems. Still, there’s no doubt that a lot of work still needs to be done to make our jobs and industries safer.

This slideshow offers a look at the 10 most dangerous occupations, according to fatal work injury rate.

About the Author

Dave Blanchard | Editor-in-Chief / Senior Director of Content

During his career Dave Blanchard has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeek, EHS Today, Material Handling & Logistics, Logistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. Prior to joining Endeavor/Informa/Penton, he spent a decade covering the artificial intelligence industry. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University. 

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