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These are the 10 Safest and Most Dangerous Jobs in America
If you're reading this article from the comfort of your cubicle, chances are you're more likely to get a paper cut than you are to have a massive tree limb fall on you.
But fires, traffic crashes, slips, trips and equipment failures are a common reality for the most dangerous occupations in America.
In 2015, there were a total of 4,836 fatal work injuries in the United States, according to the most recent numbers available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here are the jobs that had the highest rate of work injuries that year:
The 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in the U.S.
The BLS listed the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. as follows:
- Fishing workers
- Aircraft pilots and engineers
- Garbage and recycling collectors
- Iron and steel workers
- Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
- Farmers and ranchers
- Electrical power line workers
- Landscaping and groundskeeping workers
Tyler Weed has spent the last 12 summers working as a salmon boat deckhand in Alaska.
He’s made as much as $56,000 and as little as $9,000 during salmon season (the average annual salary for the fishing industry is $29,280).
Days are long and hard, starting around 4 a.m. and lasting up to 15 hours. Weed’s main task as a deckhand is to set up the fishing net and then later haul it back in using a system of hydraulic lifts and pulleys.
Weed said that because salmon boats fish closer to shore, his corner of the industry isn’t as dangerous as winter crabbing in the Bering Sea.
Still, he was once on a boat that ran aground, and he saw a fisherman sever his foot while on the job.
“None of these cases have made me rethink the work I do,” said Weed, who is now a medical student living in Portland, Oregon. “I think the most important factor in staying safe is working with an experienced crew that keeps equipment in good working order, and I am fortunate to work with a crew that is young, intelligent and aware.”
Plus, his summer shares allowed him to pay his way through college.
The 10 Safest Jobs in the U.S.
If you're looking for a career where living dangerously is not a prerequisite, these are the 10 safest jobs, according to the the most recent report from CareerCast that uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Computer systems analyst
- Medical records technician
- Paralegal assistant
- Web developer
These jobs are considered safer because of lower activity levels and travel demands — they’ll also likely have you looking at a higher paycheck.
Julieanna Hever, who has worked as a dietitian for the last 12 years, said that she’s never considered her career dangerous and isn’t surprised that being a dietitian is among the safest occupations.
“Other than having patients and clients complain about their dietary recommendations or any common dangers found in the kitchen, there aren’t too many potential issues I could imagine associated with my profession,” Hever said.
Unlike many dietitians who work in hospitals and clinics, Hever, who specializes in plant-based nutrition, said two days are never the same (which she considers a perk). She said she works with clients by phone or online, writes articles and books and has meetings about business development and new projects.
Job growth for dietitians is expected to increase 16% between 2014 and 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and dietitians make an average of $58,920 per year.
“For me, I was passionate about nutrition my entire life,” Hever said. “With obesity and chronic disease progressively on the rise, and nutrition being the number one cause of death and disability in the United States, I am not surprised by the growth projections in the field of dietetics.”
The other safest careers have a rosy job outlook as well: accounts and auditors earn an average of $68,150 annually and have an 11% job growth, which is faster than average.
Actuaries earn $100,610 per year and enjoy a growth rate of 18%; computer systems analysts earn $87,220 per year and have a 21% job outlook; and interpreters/translators earn $46,120 per year and have a 29% growth rate.
Whether you’re scaling a building or ensuring your client is up to date on property taxes, stay safe out there. And if you’re planning your career or gearing up for your second act, keep in mind that more education often brings with it the possibility of a safer and more lucrative career.
Wendy Joan Biddlecombe is a reporter and editor who lives in New York City.