Many American workers face the risk of serious injury on the job. A recent analytical study published in the Washington Post reveals the five most dangerous jobs in the country. This study, using raw data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, may contain some surprises for the unsuspecting reader.

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Top five dangerous jobs in 2015

The 2015 study is a synthesis of data in a number of different statistical areas. It includes raw death rates for a wide range of professions and specific jobs. It also incorporates data on causes of job-related death and associated circumstances. The figures reported by the Washington Post combine to show a clear profile of the most hazardous jobs in Chicago and the dangerous professions that may need the help of a workers’ comp attorney.

Dangerous job #5: Roofing

According to the Washington Post study, the fifth most dangerous job in America is roofing. People who work on roofing crews face a wide range of risks. The most obvious danger is the threat of falls from high places. Some contractors and subcontractors send their employees to work on dangerously tall roofs without proper safety equipment. A single moment of inattention or a faulty piece of machinery can cause instant death.

Another danger of roofing is exposure to extreme weather conditions. During periods of cold weather, roofers may lose feeling in their limbs and fall from exposed areas. During the summer, roofers are at a serious risk of death from heat stroke. Many cases of lethal heat illness each year in Chicago can be traced to roofing crews, as a workers’ comp attorney can relate from case records.

Dangerous job #4: Extraction

The extraction of oil, gas and other materials from the ground is a busy industry in America. Many boom towns have sprung up as petroleum is found in different areas of the country. Extracting resources can be a deadly job. These workers face an annual fatality risk of more than 40 per 100,000, according to the Washington Post study.

Dangers faced by people who work in extraction include explosions, transportation accidents, injuries from heavy equipment and falls from rigging or scaffolding. Some extraction workers are young, inexperienced or unfamiliar with the physical hazards of the job. These factors add up to an elevated death rate on oil rigs, in mines and on other extraction sites.

Dangerous job #3: Aviation

Flight engineers and aircraft pilots face a considerable risk of death or serious injury on the job. General aviation pilots who fly light airplanes often suffer career-ending accidents. Despite the careful regulation of the American aviation system, pilots still have to deal with severe weather, equipment failures and the possibility of human error. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, one out of every five general aviation accidents will cause one or more fatalities.

Many pilots and flight engineers work year-round in hazardous conditions. They are at a much higher risk of serious or fatal injury than enthusiasts who choose to fly on clear days as a leisure activity. Takeoffs and landings in rough, mountainous terrain can be risky. General aviation professionals are also at risk of fatigue and stress on long shifts, causing an elevated danger of serious injury on the job. According to the Washington Post report, pilots faced a fatality risk of approximately 50 per 100,000 during the most recent year.

Dangerous job #2: Fishing

Fishing is a relaxing hobby for many Americans. For professional fishermen, it is a fast-paced and often very dangerous job, the second most hazardous in the country. Crews in the commercial fishing industry face many accidents and disasters every year. Cold water and hazardous machinery can kill at a moment’s notice, even among experienced workers.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 545 people died in commercial fishing accidents during the decade from 2000 to 2010. The majority of these deaths took place during shipwrecks. Almost one-third of deaths were caused by falls overboard during the operation of a vessel.

Dangerous job #1: Logging

The most dangerous job in America is not law enforcement, demolition, firefighting or working with inmates in maximum security prisons. The most dangerous job is logging. People who work on logging crews face all of the following dangers on a daily basis:

  • Extremely heavy and hazardous equipment
  • Trees weighing many tons and falling in unpredictable ways
  • Rough and unstable areas of terrain
  • Working at great heights, sometimes up to 20 stories high
  • Hazardous environmental conditions such as lightning, snow, heat, cold, or extreme winds
  • Remote work areas inaccessible to medical help

The last of these factors is one of the most crucial. When a logger is seriously injured, the nearest trauma center is generally hours away. Many loggers die after accidents because they do not have immediate access to emergency medical facilities.

Logging dangers by the numbers

According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, logging workers face the highest risk of all professions and trades in America, with an average annual death rate of 127.8 per 100,000. To restate this statistic in sobering terms, approximately one out of every 782 loggers is killed on the job each year. Many loggers are also disabled for life by tree strikes, equipment strikes, falls or other accidents on the job. In a trade where a single misstep can be deadly, there is very little room for error.

People who work in dangerous jobs have the right to advice and legal protection. Injured employees in the Chicago area may find it helpful to speak with a workers’ comp attorney.