America's Most Injured

You're 1,000 times more likely to get hurt than to die on the job

Americas Most Injured You're all set to kick-start workplace safety at your new business (or to ramp up the H&S program at your company if it already exists).

But wait - how can you implement best practices for occupational health and safety if you don't know what you're dealing with?

All aspects of safety management - from hazards assessment to training to the purchase of safety equipment - will be directly affected by which industry you work in.

Not all industries are created equal

When it comes to the amount of risk that workers take, not all industries are created equal.

And the biggest gamble to your employees isn't so much their risk of dying as their odds of getting injured on the job.

Workers have only a four in 100,000 chance of getting killed at work. They have a 4.6 in 100 chance of being injured on or getting sick from their jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS)'s 2005 figures on the most dangerous occupations in America.

The sickest

We expect health care workers to get sick from their jobs more often than the rest of us, and in fact, they do - representing 19 percent of almost 250,000 new occupational illnesses recorded in the United States in 2005.

Aside from health care, occupational illness also ranked high in these industries:

  • Light truck and utility vehicle manufacturing: 701.5 illnesses per 10,000 workers
  • Animal slaughtering: 478.8 illnesses per 10,000 workers
  • Automotive manufacturing: 320.6 illnesses per 10,000 workers
  • Cut stock, resawing lumber and planning: 276.4 illnesses per 10,000 workers
  • Motor vehicle air-conditioning manufacturing: 235 illnesses per 10,000 workers

The most accident-prone

When it comes to injuries, the manufacturing sector reported 39 percent of the total in 2005. That broke down as follows:

  • Beet sugar manufacturing: 16.6 injuries per 100 workers
  • Truck trailer manufacturing: 15.7 injuries per 100 workers
  • Iron foundries: 15.2 injuries per 100 workers
  • Prefabricated-wood building manufacturing: 13.9 injuries per 100 workers
  • Framing contractors: 13.3 injuries per 100 workers

The deadliest

Despite the much lower likelihood of people being killed on the job compared to getting sick or hurt at work, there are definitely certain industries that are deadlier than others!

Those high-risk industries are shown here in descending order, starting with the most deadly sectors in the United States:

  • Fishing:
    118.4 dead per 100,000 workers
    Average annual salary: $29,000
  • Logging:
    92.9 dead per 100,000 workers
    Salary: $31,290
  • Aircraft pilots and flight engineers:
    66.9 dead per 100,000 workers
    Salary: $135,040
  • Structural iron and steel work:
    55.6 dead per 100,000 workers
    Salary: $43,540
  • Refuse and recyclable material collectors:
    43.8 dead per 100,000 workers
    Salary: $30,160
  • Farmers and ranchers:
    41.1 dead per 100,000 workers
    Salary: $39,720
  • Electrical power-line installers and repairers:
    32.7 dead per 100,000 workers
    Salary: $49,200
  • Truck drivers:
    29.1 dead per 100,000 workers
    Salary: $35,460 (for heavy or tractor-trailer drivers)
  • Miscellaneous agricultural workers:
    23.2 dead per 100,000 workers
    Salary: $24,140
  • Construction laborers:
    22.7 dead per 100,000 workers
    Salary: $29,050

Worried about violence at work? Don't bother… fear fatigue instead!

You should be the least concerned about getting physically attacked at work (no matter how angry your coworkers look these days).

Instead, you might want to focus your attention on an all-too-common and overlooked menace: fatigue.

Only 2 percent of all non-fatal occupational accidents and illnesses happen as a result of workplace violence, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also reports that a full quarter of all non-fatal accidents and illnesses at work are directly caused by "overexertion."

The danger of fatigue is surpassed only by the rather general category of "contact with object or equipment" (27 percent) - not to be confused with a "bodily reaction" (11 percent), repetitive motion (4 percent) or slips and trips (3 percent).

All types of falls combined (on the same level; to a lower level) account for a whopping 19 percent of non-fatal injuries at work …safety harness, anyone?

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