Dangerous jobs not necessarily best-paying

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

We've seen recent social media memes comparing fast-food workers striking for $15 an hour to EMTs, firefighters, law enforcement officers or others making similar wages for life-and-death occupations.

Most of us didn't think much about the topic on Monday, despite its Labor Day designation, but a ranking of dangerous jobs, along with their attendant salaries, is enlightening.

ONet, HealthGrove and StartClass used U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information to rank the most dangerous jobs, along with their average salaries.

We don't have many loggers in Southwest Nebraska or Northwest Kansas, but they have the most dangerous job in the list, 91 people killed on the job per 100,000 workers, for an average salary of $35,190.

Nor do we have many of the No. 2, fishers, 75 dead per 100,000 workers, earning $35,250 a year.

There are a few airline pilots in our area, earning an average of $118,140 a year but suffering 50.6 deaths per 100,000 workers.

But we do have extraction -- oilfield workers -- in our area, the fourth most dangerous job, killing 46.9 people for an average salary of $34,480.

You probably know someone who works in the other 18 most dangerous occupations:

No. 5 -- roofers, 40.5 deaths for $35,760.

Nov. 6 -- trash collectors, 33 deaths, $33,660.

No. 7 -- Mining machine operators, 26.9, $48,440.

No. 8 -- Truckers, 23.6 deaths, $22,250.

No. 9 -- Farm/ranch managers, 22.9, $68,050.

No. 10 -- Electric line repairer, 23.6, $65,930.

No. 11 -- Construction workers, 18.1, $31,090.

No. 12 -- Taxi drivers, 17.8, $23,210.

No. 13 -- Landscaping and groundskeeping supervisors, 15.3, $43,160.

No. 14 -- Maintenance and repair workers, 15.3, $36,170.

No. 15 -- Cleaners and groundskeepers, 13.1, $22,840.

No. 16 -- Mechanics and installer managers, 11, $62,150.

No. 17 -- Police officers, 10.6, $56,810.

No. 18 -- Painters, 9.4, $35,950.

No. 19 -- Athletes, 8.9, $43,350.

No. 20 -- Bus and truck mechanics, 8.6, $43,630.

No. 21 -- Electricians, 8.5, $51,110.

No. 22 -- Firefighters, 8.2, $45,970.

Some of the jobs were ranked as more dangerous than we thought, while others less, and the same goes for salaries -- some seem relatively low-paying for dangerous work, while others pay well.

Regardless of the occupation, honest work, providing a valuable product or service to the public deserves proper compensation and a safe working environment.

Whatever your occupation is or was, we hope you invited the Labor Day holiday and that job receives the recognition it deserves.

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  • Thank you for doing such an important article. Sadly in Nebraska alone we lost approximately 67 workers in the State of Nebraska alone in 2014. Ever year on April 28, 2015 USMWF a non profit organization honors those we have lost in Nebraska. Going to work should not be a grave mistake.

    I lost my Uncle in a work related incident in 2009 here in Lincoln, NE and have attempted to reach out to families across Nebraska and the United States.

    I hope I can reach out to the families that have lost a loved one due to a work related incident and tell them they are not alone. Please go to www.usmwf.org as we have many upcoming events here in Nebraska that you are welcome to join.

    Thank you-Tonya Ford

    -- Posted by TonyaFordUSMWF on Wed, Sep 9, 2015, at 12:25 PM
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