Most Dangerous Jobs In America 2002

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The 10 most dangerous jobs in America


The workplace death rate continued to fall in 2002, but some jobs remain staggeringly risky.

By Kim Khan

Loggers and fishermen faced the most daunting odds of dying at work in 2002, but the highways remained the most dangerous place for American workers.

On-the-job accidents and homicides claimed the lives of 5,524 Americans last year, down 6.6% from 2001. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the workplace death rate is the lowest it has seen since recordkeeping began in 1992.

Of that 5,524, only 104 were timber-cutters, but those fatalities represent a death rate nearly 30 times that of a typical workplace. Loggers died at a rate of 117.8 per 100,000 workers, the BLS said, with most of them killed by falling trees. The death rate for American workplaces as a whole was 4 per 100,000. (That's among occupations with more than 30 fatalities in 2002 and more than 45,000 employed.)

Fishing was the second most dangerous occupation, with 71.1 deaths for every 100,000 workers, followed by pilots and navigators, 69.8, structural metal workers, 58.2, and, perhaps surprisingly, drivers-sales workers, which include pizza delivery drivers at 37.9.

Roofing is another dangerous job, with 37 deaths for every 100,000 workers. Electric power installers, farm occupation, construction laborer and truck drivers also made the top 10.

The 10 most dangerous jobs
Occupation - Fatalities per 100,000
    Timber cutters 117.8
    Fishers 71.1
    Pilots and navigators 69.8
    Structural metal workers 58.2
    Drivers-sales workers 37.9 {this includes Pizza Delivery Drivers}
    Roofers 37
    Electrical power installers 32.5
    Farm occupations 28
    Construction laborers 27.7
    Truck drivers 25

    Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; survey of occupations with minimum 30 fatalities and 45,000 workers in 2002

Mining tops list of dangerous industries
Going underground is still one of the most dangerous jobs. Mining is the most perilous industry as a whole to work in, according to the BLS.

There were 23.5 deaths in mining for every 100,000 workers in 2002, the BLS said. That was just slightly ahead of agriculture, forestry and fishing, where there were 22.7 deaths for every 100,000 workers. But deaths in mining are still down 22% from the 2001 rate.

Overall, the number of deaths occurring in the workplace dropped 6.6% from the year before to 5,524, the lowest number since the workplace fatality census was started in 1992, excluding the Sept. 11 attacks. Following mining and agriculture, construction saw 12.2 deaths per 100,000 workers. Transportation, which includes trucking and air travel, saw 11.3 work-related deaths per 100,000 workers.

In addition to the new all-time lows in total workplace fatalities and fatality rates, it is especially encouraging to see a 6% decrease in fatalities among Hispanic workers after seeing increases every year since 1995, Labor Secretary Elaine Chow said. The Department's outreach efforts, such as the Hispanic Task Force on Worker Safety, our Spanish-language Web sites and hiring of Spanish-speaking OSHA employees, will continue to make Hispanic workers safer.


    On-the-job killers
    Type of incident 2002 deaths


    Aircraft accidents 192
    Caught in running equipment 110
    Drowning 60
    Electrocution 289
    Exposure to substances 98
    Falls from ladder 126
    Falls from roof 143
    Fires/explosions 165
    Highway collisions 635
    Assaults/violence 840
    Jackknifed or overturned truck 312
    Overturned farm/industrial equipment 164
    Struck by falling/flying object 506
    Struck by vehicle 356
    Suicides 199

Workplace murders fall
Homicides in the workplace fell to 609 in 2002. The total is slightly lower than the 643 in 2001, but well below the in high of workplace homicides of 1,080 in 1994. Nearly nine out of 10 retail cashiers who died on the job last year were murdered.

Restaurant and hotel management also saw a high percentage of workplace murders, with homicides accounting for 80% of workplace deaths. Cab and limousine drivers were also targeted. Fifty-nine percent of drivers and chauffeurs killed on the job were murdered, much higher than the percentage killed in highway accidents.

But highway accidents were the biggest overall killer in 2002, accounting for a quarter of all worker deaths. Falls killed 13%. Men were still, by far, the most likely to be killed on the job. Ninety-two percent of all workplace fatalities were male.

Among the 441 women who died on the job, though, the chief cause of death was homicide.
"If you ain't on the road, you ain't makin' money!" - gregster

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