While many of us are sitting in our padded computer chairs, safe in the office environment - with the only health hazards facing us being spilled coffee or the occasional paper cut - there is a significant number of workers battling fatal injuries on the job every day. Recently, various TV networks have been showcasing some of these dangerous jobs. But the perils of hazardous job sites aren't restricted to police officers and animal trainers. In many cases, the most (seemingly) common jobs can create the highest fatality rates. The careers listed below represent the most fatal jobs in 2008-2009.

  1. Agriculture - Fatality rate: 5.7 per 100,000
    What is so dangerous about planting potatoes? Agriculture workers today are often responsible for operating heavy machinery in every weather condition. Years ago, the average farmer could work his or her own field and make a decent living. Today, agriculture needs to be over massive plots of land, requiring an increased amount of automation

  2. Construction - Fatality rate: 2.5 per 100,000
    A typical work environment in construction may include heavy machinery, inclement weather and slippery surfaces, depending on the specific job or time of year. Perils of working on roofs or hanging from scaffolding are compounded by the attitude of fellow coworkers who may not be safety-conscious. There are plenty of safety regulations and precautions, but many workers feel encumbered or even ridiculed by coworkers if they are followed to the word.

  3. Manufacturing - Fatality rate: 1.1 per 100,000
    Over the last 10 years, the manufacturing industry in the U.K. has been moving toward higher-tech solutions to production needs. This results in a much better work environment. At the same time, if your company is building vehicles such as cars or planes, you will be in an environment with large machinery. Also included is process manufacturing, chemical production and metals and engineered metal products. These are not a places you would let your child play.

  4. Services- Fatality rate: 0.3 per 100,000
    This is one of the lower fatality rates per 100,000. The services industry encompasses a wide range of jobs including retail and food, which is not too dangerous, but it also includes water and air transportation, as well as land transport via railways and pipelines. These services bring the fatality rate of the industry up.

Jobs With the Highest Rates of Injury
Fatal injuries aside, major injuries such as those requiring amputation, 24-hour admittance to hospital or resuscitation can also occur on the job. The chart below shows some of the most dangerous jobs in terms of injuries and also includes their fatality rates.

Industry Major Injuries per 100,000 Fatal Injuries per 100,000
Agriculture 205.4 5.7
Business and finance 45.4 0.1
Construction 254.1 2.5
Education 83.1 0.0
Extractive and utility supply 202.7 3.4
Health and social work 80.8 n/a
Hotels and restaurants 67.5 0.2
Manufacturing 165.5 1.1
Public administration 152.4 0.5
Transport, storage and communication 214.4 1.2
Wholesale and retail trade 77.7 0.3
Source: Health and Safety Executive www.hse.gov.uk

Overall, even the most dangerous work environments are getting much better. In fact, the fatality rate is 22% lower for the past year compared to the previous five-year average. Although dangerous jobs are often high-paying and require significant education, the risks that come with them may not outweigh the perks for many.

Note: The data was compiled by the Health and Safety Executive and reported in late October of 2009. The figures represent fatalities recorded in 2008/09, calculated per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in the occupation.

Related Articles
  1. Chart Advisor

    Agriculture Commodities Are In The Bear's Sights

    Agriculture stocks have experienced strong moves higher over recent weeks, but chart patterns on sugar, corn and wheat are suggesting the moves could be short lived.
  2. Economics

    The 4 Countries That Produce the Most Food

    Learn about the four food superpowers -- China, India, the United States and Brazil -- and what sets them apart from the rest of the world.
  3. Economics

    These Will Be the World's Top Economies in 2020

    Discover the current economic forces that are anticipated to significantly shift the landscape of the world's most powerful economies over the next decade.
  4. Investing

    The Quinoa Quandary for Bolivian Farmers

    Growing global demand for quinoa has impacted Bolivian farmers' way of life. Should the American consumer be wary of buying this product?
  5. Investing Basics

    Why You Should Invest Like a Pig Farmer

    Want to increase your long term returns? Consider buying stocks like a farmer, not like a trader.
  6. Economics

    Looking to Invest In Ukraine? Here is How

    We examine a number of ways to invest in Ukraine, including ETFs, managed funds, corporate investments, and Eurobonds.
  7. Entrepreneurship

    Top 5 Most Successful English Entrepreneurs

    Learn about the entrepreneurial culture of the United Kingdom. Discover details about the top most successful entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom.
  8. Economics

    How To Invest In Farming Without Owning a Farm

    Investors have a number of ways to get exposure to the agriculture and farming sector besides actually having to buy a farm.
  9. Savings

    Why Organic Food Is So Expensive

    Discover how organic farmers face many obstacles. Learn why your organics cost so much more than conventional foods and if there is any hope for falling prices.
  10. Economics

    These Companies Are Poised for Growth as Global Population Growth Comes Online

    While there are many concerns about population growth putting pressure on natural resources such as water and energy, these increased demands can spell profits for certain companies that can ...
  1. What countries are driving most of the growth of the food and beverage sector?

    The countries driving most of the growth of the food and beverage sector are the primary emerging market economies of China ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the point of agricultural subsidies?

    Every five years, new legislation is introduced and passed through the U.S. Congress to subsidize farmers and agricultural ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are tradable commodities?

    Tradable commodities consist of basic goods used in commerce that are often interchangeable with other goods of the same ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What country produces the most coffee?

    According to the 2014-2015 forecast provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service, Brazil ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What percentage of the global economy is comprised of the forest products sector?

    The forest products sector is comprised of companies that plant, grow, harvest, and process wood and wood-related products ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does scarcity affect global agriculture stocks?

    Agricultural products are a commodity and their prices are related to other commodities, particularly crude oil. Crops including ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Real Estate Investment Trust - REIT

    A REIT is a type of security that invests in real estate through property or mortgages and often trades on major exchanges ...
  2. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  3. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  4. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  5. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  6. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!