What is the most dangerous job in America?


The police would have you believe that theirs is the most dangerous job and that is why they need to be given the freedom to shoot people at will but actually, as the chart in this article shows, it is nowhere close to being the most dangerous job. Neither are firefighters and security guards.

If you hover your cursor over each line, it tells you the death rate per 100,000 people and also the median income for that profession. You might think that there might be a correlation between income and danger, that to go into high-risk jobs might require people to be tempted with higher pay. But that does not seem to be the case. Loggers and agricultural workers, for example, have high fatality rates but also are among the lowest paid.

Police do not even have the highest number of deaths due to violence, a title that goes to taxi drivers and chauffeurs.

A surprise for me is that garbage collectors are high on the list of the most likely to die on the job. While I could easily imagine many ways those in other high-risk jobs could die, it was hard to come up with scenarios for garbage collectors.

Comments

  1. Commodore wolf says

    Garbage collectors often ride on the outside of the back of the truck and stop frequently. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of them are killed in collisions.

  2. chigau (違う) says

    In larger cities, garbage collection is usually contracted out.
    Those contractors can be unscrupulous about safety equipment and practices.

  3. says

    it was hard to come up with scenarios for garbage collectors.

    People also throw away insane stuff that they have no business throwing away – things that explode, things that shatter, things that are pressurized, pathogens, poisons, acids. It’s really nuts. I had a friend who asked me to take a look at some old junk of her dad’s that was going to wind up in a dumpster and one of the items was a live 88mm German antiaircraft round from WWII. It was disposed of safely. But, yeah – you find some horrifying stuff in the garbage. Wasn’t there a bunch of Cesium 137 dumped in a landfill a few years back? (Ah, right: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goi%C3%A2nia_accident ) It only takes one incident like that to raise the danger level of a job.I know of another incident in which some students digging through lab waste found an amount of hydroflouric acid. The mind boggles.

    A lot of Americans are going to die of heart disease as a result of desk jobs.

  4. anat says

    In my area there is only the driver on the garbage-collection vehicle. People are supposed to leave their various containers in such a way that facilitates automatic collection. The driver only needs to leave their seat to pick up special items (which are left next to the regular containers), and for such there is a special charge. I knew this was an efficient way to do it, but I didn’t realize the safety aspect.

  5. Holms says

    You might think that there might be a correlation between income and danger, that to go into high-risk jobs might require people to be tempted with higher pay. But that does not seem to be the case.

    HAH! Of course not. Shitty jobs with a high chance of dying and no technical training requirement go to those that are low in influence and low in alternative options, i.e. the poor, because rich people can afford to avoid that shit. The best example of this has always been the front line, non-specialist troops in virtually every engagement ever; the low income still comprise the huge majority of the non-comissioned soldier ranks to this day. Oh and since they have minimal pay, their chances of influencing things like pay for the better are vanishingly slim, as they have no money for lobbying, and unionising is frequently opposed by those that do.

    Note also that people in these jobs are frequently sneered at or at least dismissed as being ‘unglamorous’, despite the fact that things like garbage collection and agriculture work are vastly more relevant to the smooth functioning of a city / nation than say, currency speculators.

  6. OverlappingMagisteria says

    The website says that “transportation incidents” make up 69% of garbage collector fatalities. I imagine that they could easily get hit by a car as they run out to grab the garbage. Most people will pass the garbage tuck and it’s not easy to see around them.

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