Most dangerous jobs in America

The most dangerous job in America has more to do with putting food on your table than saving your life, according to a new analysis of federal statistics by the Daily Beast news website.

“Police officers and firefighters are everyday heroes, but it may be time to recognize farmers and fishermen, as well,” the Daily Beast writes.

In fact, fishermen were engaged in the most dangerous job, with 200 fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers and 800 injuries per 100,000 full-time workers, the Daily Beast said.

For many jobs, the Daily Beast said, “the greatest occupational hazard is literally getting to work. Fishermen must deal with the prospect of becoming lost at sea or falling overboard; farmers face heavy-equipment accidents; roofers are always a fall away from death.”

Firefighting, of course, is extremely dangerous, too. It came in second on the list, with 4.4 fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers and 11,600 injuries per 100,000 full-time workers.

You may disagree with the Daily Beast’s methodology, but it says it “combed occupational statistics for more than 100 jobs. As with last year’s list, incidence rates of injury and death were weighted equally.”

Ten Most Dangerous Jobs

1. Fisherman

2. Firefighter

3. Airline pilot

4. Police officer

5. Logger

6. Roofer

7. Sanitation worker

8. Bus driver or public transportation operator

9. Animal farmer

10. Grain farmer

Click here to see the full list and story.

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

57 comments Add your comment


April 14th, 2011
7:32 am


April 14th, 2011
7:37 am

If flying is safer than driving, why are airline pilots 3rd and cab drivers not listed?

Annie R

April 14th, 2011
8:01 am

I am surprised convenience store clerk is not on the list, especially night shift workers.

Road Scholar

April 14th, 2011
8:10 am

Airline pilots 3rd? Getting frisked by TSA is not a life threatening action! Are they counting Delta pilots on flights that are overbooked, late, sit on the tarmac for 5 hours, and that lose your luggage?

Chuck Doberman

April 14th, 2011
8:11 am

Guess there aren’t enough of us cell tower workers to qualify for the list. (there are only approx 10,000 certified climbers in North and South America) Curious though, someone may have missed our little niche. Deaths are part of our business, especially now that safety has taken a back seat to production within the structures of the larger wireless providers. Injuries, however, are not that numerous… pretty much if you fall from 60′ (the vast majority of towers are at least 130′ tall) or higher you’re gonna be dead


April 14th, 2011
8:11 am

I can’t believe that working as a coal miner is not in the top 10.

Buzz G

April 14th, 2011
8:23 am

What does this have to do with business? The AJC needs to get a business section. Maybe they would sell more papers and get more clicks.


April 14th, 2011
8:31 am

I’m pretty sure my job working in politics is more dangerous seeing as how the daily stupidity I witness threatens to make my brain implode and eyes bleed.

Vince Wilson

April 14th, 2011
8:42 am

How did airline pilots make the list when all I ever hear is how safe air travel is?


April 14th, 2011
9:22 am

Very surprised to see airline pilots on the list. Commercial pilots, maybe, but in 25 years as an airline pilot, my dad’s only injury was having his hotel courtesy shuttle hit by a drunk driver in San Antonio.

robert pearson

April 14th, 2011
9:27 am

Enter your comments Have you ever thought about ( RIGGER ) high steel worker.


April 14th, 2011
9:37 am

Hmmm, looks like the forgot to add “generic white collar worker who posts comments on” Oh well, maybe next year…


April 14th, 2011
9:52 am

I thought Stevedore usually is in the top few as well…


April 14th, 2011
10:03 am

That’s impossible. Identify 5 that have died in the last 2 years.

Perhaps “Pilot” if you include military service and domestic service.
Or if you include time spent driving through Atlanta traffic to the airport.


April 14th, 2011
10:08 am

Remember that most pilots aren’t flying jumbo jets. There are many charter pilots flying the little planes. Think of bush pilots in Alaska, as an extreme example. Plus, the pilots are flying many, many more flights than a typical passenger. The risk accumulates.


April 14th, 2011
10:29 am

What about teachers? Some of the most dangerous criminals and gang members are youths ages 14-18 and they attend the public schools. In some schools, teachers are police without guns!


April 14th, 2011
10:30 am

So Henry, what exactly does this have to do with today’s business climate???? Oh thats right probably another Reed “fan boy” piece in order to make his raping the pension legit. Did you see the story last night…..700 million in the police fund, 500 million in the fire fund, and 1.5 Billion in the general fund…..Yeah sounds like there cash strapped to me. Looks as if that little house of cards is falling apart.

Henry Unger

April 14th, 2011
10:35 am

There have been some questions above about how the airline pilot job could rank so high in danger. Here is what AJC airline reporter Kelly Yamanouchi says could be the reasons:

1) The Daily Beast calls it “Airplane pilot,” which would presumably include general aviation pilots such as flight instructors, test pilots, etc. who have more dangerous jobs.

2) The actual category in the fatality rate chart that the Daily Beast says it draws from is “Aircraft pilots and flight engineers.” According to the BLS, that includes helicopter pilots, along with crop dusters, firefighting pilots, traffic monitoring, rescue and evacuation, criminal tracking, reforestation, etc.

3) The incidence rate the Daily Beast is using appears to come from the “Scheduled air transportation” category. This includes many different occupations, including all the office workers, but also including baggage handlers, mechanics, etc. who I assume would have higher incident rates than pilots.


April 14th, 2011
10:36 am

From personal experience I think linemen and high voltage electrical workers should fall in there somewhere.


April 14th, 2011
10:42 am

Surprised being a black man in America is not number one.

Outside Observer

April 14th, 2011
10:53 am

Looking at the math, the numbers between the last nine must be decently close, because the first one looks higher than all the other jobs combined. Think about it, 200 out of every 100,000 compared to second on the list which is 4.4 out of 100,000. It really is the deadliest catch the way these guys are risking their lives.


April 14th, 2011
11:01 am

Gosh Brown man. I took Greg’s post a completely different way than you did. Considering the high rate of black on black murder’s I would tend to agree with him. It’s DANGEROUS reaching your 30’s in the hood. But then maybe he meant it the way you thought. i dunno………

I DO know that I’d rather be a fisherman than a black male living in the inner city……….


April 14th, 2011
11:07 am

So you’re telling me that being a farmer or a bus driver is more dangerous than being a Soldier or Marine, when we’ve got two wars going on simultaneouslyl??? I think you need to re-evaluate the criteria you use to rank your selections…

Blah Blah Blah!!!

April 14th, 2011
11:58 am


But seriously, I believe being an Atlanta Commuter is the most dangerous job, the way people drive is insane!!!!!


April 14th, 2011
11:59 am

Down at the pie facotry is knows for a fact it is far more dangrous as a farmers.


April 14th, 2011
12:02 pm

I strongly disagree with your list and I am sure the family of law enforcement agree with me. What about the ones murdered since 1-1-11 while on the job?


April 14th, 2011
12:40 pm

Greg, you are ignorant. You have to seriously bring race into this? Being black is not a damn job.


April 14th, 2011
12:43 pm

Henry and how do you say that being a farmer is more dangerous than being in the military? You’ve obviously never served.

Snydley Whiplash

April 14th, 2011
1:05 pm

Mr. Potter

April 14th, 2011
1:06 pm

Snydley, you got that right!

George Bailey

April 14th, 2011
1:07 pm

Even I agree with Potter on that one.

Kneel Borezt

April 14th, 2011
1:30 pm

LE should be #1. At least that’s what I’m hoping.

who farted?

April 14th, 2011
1:33 pm

Henry why does it look like you’re trying to drop a deuce bucket in your photo?


April 14th, 2011
1:45 pm

Kneel…..what is that supposed to mean? You are wishing death or serious injury on a group of people just because of there profession?

Crack Ho

April 14th, 2011
1:51 pm

No…..My job is the most dangerous!


April 14th, 2011
2:07 pm

Airplane pilot, not airline pilot. This would include bush pilots in Alaska, crop duster pilots, those guys who fly with banners behind them, and other commercial pilots.


April 14th, 2011
2:12 pm

dat’s true about being a pedestrian in ATl. another was killed 2 day. :(


April 14th, 2011
2:14 pm

There is such a thing as a “bush” pilot?

Oh the jokes I could make.

John Ellison

April 14th, 2011
2:25 pm

Since you admit a typo was made regarding “Airline pilot” vs “Airplane pilot, why don’t you correct it?


April 14th, 2011
3:59 pm

road scholar = you don’t even fly, do you? idiot


April 14th, 2011
4:01 pm

I’m sure after this year, Police Officer will be at the top of the list. This year has been bad for them and it carried over from last year. High numbers


April 14th, 2011
4:02 pm

Bill, I agree, Road scholar is an idiot. Last time I checked the things he listed didnt result in death. Just another candy ass looking to pop off at the mouth because no one ever gives a crap at what he thinks.


April 14th, 2011
4:40 pm

If anybody is shocked with “Deadliest Catch” in its seventh season, I’m shocked. I mean it’s there in the title.


April 14th, 2011
4:45 pm

Amazed tower servicement, especially the ones who have decent amounts of freehand climbing dealing with 1000′ towers isn’t on the list.

Airline pilot also seems odd considering how rare plane crashes are.

Lea Powell

April 14th, 2011
7:21 pm

what about convenient store workers


April 14th, 2011
7:46 pm

Um, coal miners have to be in the top three.


April 14th, 2011
8:13 pm

i dont respone to this crap much. But 911 is my call. They are life savers

Waldo 313

April 14th, 2011
8:21 pm

This report is in error. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has it differently. This report counts injuries as well as fatalities. The cops and firemen have very low fatality rates, but very high injury rates. That’s because every cop and fireman wants a disability pension so they feign injuries all the time. All I want to hear about is fatalities. Shame on Daily Beast! They’re being manipulated by the cops and firemen.

Waldo 313

April 14th, 2011
8:28 pm

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t list either cops or firemen in the top ten most dangerous jobs. That’s because the BLS only list fatalities. Daily Beast includes injuries. This is bull. The next time you read about a fire in New york City, count all the firemen that are injured. They’re really not. This is how you qualify for a disability pension. After enough “injuries” the “war ravaged” veteran puts in for and receives a full disability pension. I’ll give them credit for one thing. They may have high school GED educations, but they have doctorates in thievery.

Waldo 313

April 14th, 2011
8:32 pm

You know what I think. The Daily Beast is controlled by the cops and firemen’s unions.