04.13.11

20 Most Dangerous Jobs

Police officers and firefighters are everyday heroes, but it may be time to recognize farmers and fishermen, as well. The Daily Beast once again examines the figures to find out the riskiest jobs in America.

This month, a firefighter in D.C. suffered life-threatening burns while extinguishing a house fire. Last Thursday, David Hunsinger Jr., a firefighter in Bladen County North Carolina, died on his way to answer an emergency call. And in March, a Cleveland firefighter suffered a heart attack in the line of duty.

During the last year for which data are available, a total of 39 firefighters died while on-the-job, a fatality rate of 4.4 per 100,000 workers. There are 3.3 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers for the average occupation in the U.S., but for most occupations, 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.

Gallery: 20 Most Dangerous Jobs

To find out which jobs are the most dangerous, posing the greatest risk of injury or death, The Daily Beast combed occupational statistics for more than 100 jobs. As with last year’s list, incidence rates of injury and death were weighted equally.

Rate of injuries are based on the incidence rate [PDF] and number of nonfatal occupation injuries for 2009 and fatality rates [PDF] are based on fatal occupation injuries per full-time equivalent workers. Salary and employment figures are based on average estimates from 2009. All data are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.