MoneyWatch: 10 Most Dangerous Jobs

11:34 AM, Jan 16, 2014   |    comments
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(CBS/MoneyWatch)-- Mothers, don't let your babies grow up to be loggers. Not only is logging the most dangerous profession in America, accounting for 128 deaths per 100,000 individuals, loggers are paid poorly for taking such big risks, according to FinancesOnline, a web site that looked at Bureau of Labor Statistics data to find the nation's most dangerous professions and their average wages.

It's worth noting that the professions you'd expect to be dangerous -- police and firefighting -- don't make the top 10. Instead, the government reports that the most lethal activity is "transportation." Fatal work-related accidents involving cars, trucks, boats and planes accounted for a whopping 41 percent of the deaths in 2012 (the most recent year for which statistics are available). Of course, there are far more people engaged in professions that require time on the road, ranging from salesmen and truckers to taxi drivers, than there are people felling trees, so the per capita death rate by driving is smaller even though the total number of deaths is far greater.

The government data also indicates that it's far safer to be at work today than it was 10 years ago. In 1992, some 6,217 people died on the job, compared with just 4,383 in 2012. Aside from transportation-related deaths, the second most common cause of death at work is violence, accounting for 767 deaths in 2012. Getting hit, crushed or caught in machinery and other objects accounted for 712 deaths, while falls, slips and trips were the fourth leading cause of workplace fatalities, accounting for 668 deaths.

The nation's most fatal state is Texas, where there were 433 work-related deaths in 2012. With a total population of 26.1 million, the death rate in Texas is disproportionate to the state's size. California, the nation's most populous state with 38 million residents, ranks second in total number of work-related deaths, with 390 deaths in 2012, according to government data. That's up from 339 in 2011.

What are the nation's most deadly professions?

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