10. Landscaping workers

City landscaper man gardener cutting grass around planted flowers with string lawn trimmer
Vadim Ratnikov / Shutterstock
Landscaping crews work outdoors in all weather conditions, often with dangerous equipment.

Cutting lawns and pruning bushes may not seem like a very dangerous job. However, these crews work outdoors in all weather conditions and often drive their own trucks filled with tools.

Deaths result from accidents with equipment or from being struck by objects.

  • Fatality rate: 17.4 deaths per 100,000 workers
  • Total deaths in 2016: 217
  • Median annual pay: $28,560

9. Construction supervisors

Supervisor showing something to colleague at construction site
sirtravelalot / Shutterstock
Supervising a construction site can be a hazardous job.

If you have ever witnessed the construction of a new building, you may have seen the bosses in hard hats walking on steel beams while trying to keep an eye on everything. It can be hazardous work.

Construction supervisors can die from slips, trips and falls, or from road accidents on highway projects.

  • Fatality rate: 18 deaths per 100,000 workers
  • Total deaths in 2016: 134
  • Median annual pay: $68,040

8. Farmers and ranchers

Farmer Feeding Livestock
OUTDOOR_MEDIA / Shutterstock
The animals can be temperamental, so can the equipment.

Agricultural managers — otherwise known as farmers and ranchers — have to deal with huge machines, temperamental animals and dangerous chemicals, all while being exposed to the elements.

The vast majority of deaths come from accidents involving motor vehicles, including tractors and trucks.

  • Fatality rate: 23.1 deaths per 100,000 workers
  • Total deaths in 2016: 260
  • Median annual pay: $66,360

7. Truck and other delivery drivers

Portrait of a truck driver
stefanolunardi / Shutterstock
When you spend your life on the road, accidents are bound to occur.

Driving for a living can be brutal. Most truckers go on very little sleep, because they’re trying to meet a deadline. They also have to haul huge loads on busy highways, no matter the weather.

The work conditions lead to many fatal vehicle crashes. The very large number of people working in this field (nearly 3 million) keeps the fatality rate relatively low, despite the high death toll.

  • Fatality rate: 24.7 deaths per 100,000 workers
  • Total deaths in 2016: 918
  • Median annual pay: $34,980

6. Structural iron and steel workers

Steel worker on cherry picker.
Joe Gough / Shutterstock
Working with steel high on a construction project can be deadly.

Working with molten metal or huge beams can be a terrifyingly dangerous job, particularly when you're high atop a bridge or a new skyscraper under construction.

At towering heights, falls and slips are often deadly.

  • Fatality rate: 25.1 deaths per 100,000 workers
  • Total deaths in 2016: 16
  • Median annual pay: $56,040

5. Waste management

A Sanitation Worker dumps a trash can into a garbage truck.
Carolina K. Smith MD / Shutterstock
Truck-related accidents can lead to fatalities for waste management workers.

This job isn’t just stinky. It’s downright dangerous, involving huge trucks and other heavy equipment that can kill.

While slipping and falling are common hazards for refuse and recycling collectors, transportation-related accidents are the leading cause of death in this occupation.

  • Fatality rate: 34.1 deaths per 100,000 workers
  • Total deaths in 2016: 31
  • Median annual pay: $37,690

4. Roofers

Young woman worker on the construction site.
Halfpoint / Shutterstock
Roofing is as dangerous as it looks.

If you’re afraid of heights, you probably can’t imagine being a roofer. The work involves climbing, carrying heavy materials and a lot of standing on rooftops, often in hot weather.

As you might imagine, deaths on the job often involving falling off a roof, though more general slips and falls can be deadly to roofers, too.

  • Fatality rate: 48.6 deaths per 100,000 workers
  • Total deaths in 2016: 101
  • Median annual pay: $37,760

3. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers

Multiethnic cabin crew members discussing reports together with airplane in the background at airfield
sirtravelalot / Shutterstock
Exhaustion is an occupational danger for pilots and flight engineers.

There's no room for error when you're 35,000 feet up, so you might suspect plane crashes are the top occupational hazard in this field. But that's not the case.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says most injuries for pilots and flight engineers involve "overexertion and bodily reaction." In other words, exhaustion due to working hours that are often long and irregular.

  • Fatality rate: 55.5 deaths per 100,000 workers
  • Total deaths in 2016: 75
  • Median annual pay: $152,770

2. Fishermen and women

Commercial Fishing
photomatz / Shutterstock
Fishing injuries can occur miles from the nearest hospital or medical professional.

Sailing the seas and hauling in the catch of the day can be very risky work, especially when extreme weather rolls in.

Accidents can occur far out on the water, so by the time an injured worker is taken to a hospital or a medical professional, it can be too late.

  • Fatality rate: 86 deaths per 100,000 workers
  • Total deaths in 2016: 24
  • Median annual pay: $29,280

1. Loggers

Lumberjack with helmet standing in front of stacked trunks in forest
Budimir Jevtic / Shutterstock
Logging is the deadliest occupation.

Americans who think of Paul Bunyan or those log-rolling competitions on ESPN may romanticize about the life of a logger. But it's the most dangerous job in the U.S., with the highest fatality rate.

The government says the deaths typically result from falling objects, such as logs or branches. People working in logging also handle dangerous equipment, including saws and harvesters.

  • Fatality rate: 135.9 deaths per 100,000 workers
  • Total deaths in 2016: 91
  • Median annual pay: $37,590

About the Author

Shannon Quinn

Shannon Quinn

Freelance Contributor

Shannon Quinn is an entrepreneur and writer from the Philadelphia area.

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