Have you ever wondered what the most dangerous jobs in America are? Sure, careers like fisherman and aircraft pilot are on the list, but so are seemingly innocuous professions like courier carrier and landscaper. The jobs that actually cause the highest numbers of injuries and fatalities are sometimes the jobs that seem like they would be safe.

Registered nurse

Registered nurses racked up an astounding 20,730 work-related injuries and illnesses in 2017. Common injuries included overexertion/repetitive injury, needle sticks, and assault by patients or their families. Luckily, they’re well-compensated for their troubles: the median income of a registered nurse in America is $68,450, and the more specialized a nurse is, the more they make.



Besides having to deal with sometimes-stinky messes, plumbers also face a shockingly high level of on-the-job injury. Pipefitters and steamfitters (who are typically lumped together) deal with dangerous materials, like chemicals and gases, on a daily basis. Common injuries include repetitive movement injuries, asbestos poisoning, and even hearing loss. It’s no wonder plumbers get paid so well! The average plumber makes $50,000 a year.

Electrical power line installer and repairer

Just looking at those men and women climbing poles and standing in cherry pickers is scary, and the job is just about as dangerous as you’d expect. Surprisingly, it’s not falls or electrocution that are the biggest threats, but overexertion injuries: about 62 out of every 10,000 workers report repetitive use injuries every year.

Elevator installer

If you don’t like riding in an elevator, imagine working on one. Someone has to get up there in that shaft when the cables need repairing. In addition to being a dangerous and physically demanding job, it’s also very high stress. Plus, fun fact, 30 elevator workers were reported as having been “caught in or compressed by an object or equipment” in 2017.

Flight attendant

Flight attendants don’t just serve peanuts and drinks; they also conduct pre-flight inspections of emergency equipment, take care of passengers with special needs, and coordinate emergency care when needed. In addition, when a passenger gets belligerent or angry, it’s their job to handle the situation. Luckily, less than 1% of their on-the-job injuries can be attributed to violence.