10 of the country’s most dangerous jobs

Dangerous jobs

The incidence rate of occupational injuries and illnesses can shed light on some of the most dangerous jobs.

Workplace safety is among the top priorities for most businesses. Unfortunately, accidents and injuries do still occur – and some occupations bear the brunt of the danger.

Days away from work

So how do the most dangerous jobs stack up? To determine the risk inherent in a job, the Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away From Work, 2014 study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics looks at the incidence rate – the number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work per 10,000 workers. This statistic takes into account the total number of workers in a given occupation, giving a clearer picture of how dangerous that occupation is when compared to other occupations that may include a significantly larger or smaller number of workers.

The report shows that this incidence rate fell to 107.1 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2014 from the 2013 rate of 109.4.

Most dangerous occupations

Of course, the most dangerous jobs vastly outpace the national average. Here's a list of some of the most hazardous occupations:

1.Police and sheriff's patrol officers

  • Total number of workers* – 638,810
  • Number of injuries and illnesses – 27,660
  • Injury/illness incidence rate – 485.8

2.Firefighters

  • Total number of workers – 308,790
  • Number of injuries and illnesses – 14,440
  • Injury/illness incidence rate – 448.4

3.Highway maintenance workers

  • Total number of workers – 140,650
  • Number of injuries and illnesses – 5,110
  • Injury/illness incidence rate – 433

4.Correctional officers and jailers

  • Total number of workers – 434,420
  • Number of injuries and illnesses – 16,050
  • Injury/illness incidence rate – 423.3

5.Nursing assistants

  • Total number of workers – 1,427,740
  • Number of injuries and illnesses – 39,020
  • Injury/illness incidence rate – 372.5

6.Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

  • Total number of workers – 1,625,290
  • Number of injuries and illnesses – 55,710
  • Injury/illness incidence rate – 365.5

7.Emergency medical technicians and paramedics

  • Total number of workers – 235,760
  • Number of injuries and illnesses – 7,010
  • Injury/illness incidence rate – 333

8.Construction laborers

  • Total number of workers – 852,870
  • Number of injuries and illnesses – 22,190
  • Injury/illness incidence rate – 309.7

9.Light truck or delivery services drivers

  • Total number of workers – 797,010
  • Number of injuries and illnesses – 22,420
  • Injury/illness incidence rate – 299.9

10. Heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers

  • Total number of workers – 261,390
  • Number of injuries and illnesses – 6,590
  • Injury/illness incidence rate – 284.7


*Employment estimates from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics for May 2014