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Agriculture most dangerous industry in U.S.; mining a close second

January 12, 2006
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While the recent tragic Sago Mine accident in West Virginia is a sad reminder of how dangerous the mining occupation is, the agriculture industry (which includes forestry, fishing and hunting) actually has a higher rate of death on the job, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2004, a total of 5,703 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States, an increase of 2 percent from the 5,575 fatal work injuries that were reported in 2003. According to the BLS, the total number of fatalities in 2004 was the third-lowest annual total recorded by the fatality census, which has been conducted each year since 1992.

Overall, the rate at which fatal work injuries occurred in 2004 was 4.1 per 100,000 workers, down from a rate of 5.3 fatalities per 100,000 workers ten years earlier.

While the construction industry ranks fourth for the rate of fatal injuries per 100,000 workers, it recorded 1,224 fatal work injuries in 2004 — the most of any industry sector and an increase of 8 percent from a year earlier. In comparison, the mining industry recorded 152 fatal work injuries in 2004, while agriculture recorded 659 fatalities.

Forbes.com recently listed the ten most dangerous occupations in America:

1) Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting — 30.1 fatalities per 100,000 workers
2) Mining — 28.3 fatalities per 100,000 workers
3) Transportation and Warehousing — 17.8 fatalities per 100,000 workers
4) Construction — 11.9 fatalities per 100,000 workers
5) Utilities — 6.1 fatalities per 100,000 workers
6) Wholesale Trade — 4.4 fatalities per 100,000 workers
7) Professional and Business Services — 3.2 fatalities per 100,000 workers
8) Other Services (excluding Public Administration) — 3.0 fatalities per 100,000 workers
9) Manufacturing — 2.8 fatalities per 100,000 workers
10) Government — 2.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers

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