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Industries with the highest rates of workplace injuries

  • Industries with the highest rates of workplace injuries
    1/ Valentin Valkov // Shutterstock

    Industries with the highest rates of workplace injuries

    There’s a common workplace joke in films, cartoons, and memes using “__ Days Without Injury” signs as a gag. The sign will have racked up hundreds of days without anyone being harmed. Then a character gets hurt and it goes back down to zero. Yet workplace injuries in real life are no laughing matter. Such accidents can be devastating to employees, costly for employers, and have an impact on the overall economy.

    Stacker compiled data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on non-fatal injuries in 2017. That year, there were 1.1 million such work-related injuries or illnesses. Each case took at least a day for the worker to recuperate, though it required an average of nine days for most. Not only does that represent a big loss in productivity, but it shows just how dangerous some jobs can be. Many of these industries involve activities you’d expect to be risky, such as fighting fires, hacking down trees, or traversing construction sites. But you might be surprised that not all of the industries on this list involve manual labor or traditionally risky jobs. Here, find out which dangerous jobs top the list.

    ALSO: Top 100 reasons for emergency room visits

  • #22. Computer and mathematical
    2/ Matthew (WMF) // Wikimedia Commons

    #22. Computer and mathematical

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 5.0

    Median days away from work: 4

    Number of cases: 1,810

    Jobs in this sector include software engineers, computer specialists, mathematicians, and web developers. Though these workers are often well-compensated and spend much of their time behind a desk or computer screen, they still get hurt. Common injuries include strain, disc injuries, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

  • #21. Legal
    3/ Michael // Flickr

    #21. Legal

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 12.3

    Median days away from work: 2

    Number of cases: 1,150

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in legal occupations—which includes lawyers, paralegals, court reporters, and others—will grow 9% from 2016 to 2026. Typical injuries in this field range from office injuries to encountering hazards or dangerous clients while coming to and going from the courtroom.

  • #20. Business and financial operations
    4/ Mweufika // Wikimedia Commons

    #20. Business and financial operations

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 12.9

    Median days away from work: 9

    Number of cases: 7,850

    Business and financial operations jobs include managers, tax preparers, and loan officers. Because many of these gigs are desk-bound, the nearly 8,000 cases of workplace injuries from 2017 likely included common computer strain-related issues, as well as other typical office injuries.

  • #19. Architecture and engineering
    5/ Airman 1st Class Benjamin Gonsier // US Air Force

    #19. Architecture and engineering

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 16.0

    Median days away from work: 5

    Number of cases: 3,470

    Architects and engineers have creative and well-compensated careers. However, not only are they at risk for computer-related strain, but some of the tools of the trade (including scalpels used for models) can prove risky. Plus, construction site visits present plenty of hazards.

  • #18. Life, physical, and social science
    6/ U.S. Army RDECOM // Flickr

    #18. Life, physical, and social science

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 27.4

    Median days away from work: 5

    Number of cases: 2,390

    This wide-ranging field comes with some wide-ranging risks. Chemists may encounter dangerous materials in the laboratory, while zoologists and wildlife behaviorists might have encounters with wild creatures. School psychologists might have run-ins with the students they're trying to counsel, while forest technicians might hurt themselves while doing hands-on work amid fires or while caring for trees in a nursery.

  • #17. Management
    7/ Bill Koplitz // Wikimedia Commons

    #17. Management

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 33.7

    Median days away from work: 6

    Number of cases: 23,680

    Management jobs come in many forms, as do the associated injuries. Executives may find themselves straining themselves at their high-demand office jobs or accidentally hurting themselves because of their stress levels. Childcare directors, on the other hand, may overexert themselves when looking after their young charges.

  • #16. Office and administrative support
    8/ National Park Service // Flickr

    #16. Office and administrative support

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 43.7

    Median days away from work: 8

    Number of cases: 72,010

    Secretaries and other office administrators find themselves in this field. These employees are at risk for repetitive strain injuries, such as tripping over drawers or slipping on wet floors, as well as maladies related to the mental and emotional stress of their job.

  • #15. Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media
    9/ Gael Varoquaux // Flickr

    #15. Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 47.0

    Median days away from work: 17

    Number of cases: 6,810

    From athletes to choreographers, there are a lot of opportunities for injury in this occupational field. Football players are at risk for head injury. Dancers can strain muscles and tendons, or twist ankles. Actors may find themselves injured on a set or stage. Journalists may suffer from repetitive strain injury from typing.

  • #14. Sales and related
    10/ David Terry // U.S. Air Force

    #14. Sales and related

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 50.8

    Median days away from work: 8

    Number of cases: 56,120

    Salespeople need a particular set of skills: Good communication, a personable demeanor, active listening, and solid product knowledge. Yet, like all the industries on this list, sales jobs are not without risks. Retail sales workers can be injured on the floor, or office-bound sales workers can suffer from office injuries. Sales reps, in particular, are prone to skeletal-muscular harm.

  • #13. Education, training, and library
    11/ Ilmicrofono Oggiono // Flickr

    #13. Education, training, and library

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 53.9

    Median days away from work: 6

    Number of cases: 34,450

    Whether in the classroom, the library, or elsewhere, individuals in this line of work face specific hazards. They're particularly prone to slip-and-fall accidents, exposure to toxic materials (such as asbestos in older buildings), and violence from students or patrons.

  • #12. Personal care and service
    12/ www.localfitness.com.au // Wikimedia Commons

    #12. Personal care and service

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 79.3

    Median days away from work: 6

    Number of cases: 27,760

    Jobs in this field tend to be strenuous and physical. As a result, they can be injurious, too. Animal care workers might be injured by the creatures they care for, including horse trainers who are kicked or bitten. Barbers may be cut while giving trims. Personal trainers might strain muscles while teaching a client. Childcare workers might experience repetitive strain from bending over or picking up kids and babies.

  • #11. Community and social service
    13/ Army Medicine // Flickr

    #11. Community and social service

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 80.0

    Median days away from work: 7

    Number of cases: 13,130

    Therapists, social workers, and others work to better their clients' lives, as well as their mental and emotional health. These individuals are also occasionally subject to abuse, intimidation, physical assault, and other concerning behaviors. What's more, depending on where they work, they might fall prey to dangers in their work environment, too.

  • #10. Healthcare practitioners and technical
    14/ Erik Christensen // Wikimedia Commons

    #10. Healthcare practitioners and technical

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 91.7

    Median days away from work: 7

    Number of cases: 61,690

    The tools of the trade for dentists, nurses, veterinarians, and others in the healthcare field are essential to their work. However, those very implements—scalpels, drills, and needles, for instance—can also accidentally harm those who are using them. Because of the strain and nature of their work, healthcare workers such as hospital staff often suffer from bruises, broken bones, cuts, and most common, overexertion.

  • #9. Food preparation and serving related
    15/ The U.S. Army // Flickr

    #9. Food preparation and serving related

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 92.4

    Median days away from work: 5

    Number of cases: 79,450

    The slicing, dicing, boiling, and frying that goes into food preparation leads to a lot of injuries. Common hazards include slips on wet or damp floors, cuts, and burns, which is why food prep workers and servers often wear non-slip shoes, aprons, gloves, and other protective garments.

  • #8. Production
    16/ Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Ridge Leoni/U.S. Navy // Wikimedia Commons

    #8. Production

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 127.5

    Median days away from work: 8

    Number of cases: 101,140

    Work in this field ranges wildly from bakers and jewelry makers to welders and painters. As such, the risks vary as well. While assembly people in a factory are more prone to being injured by machinery, woodworkers might cut themselves while shaping their materials.

  • #7. Farming, fishing, and forestry
    17/ U.S. Department of Agriculture // Flickr

    #7. Farming, fishing, and forestry

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 132.3

    Median days away from work: 8

    Number of cases: 15,270

    Farming, fishing, and forestry are traditionally dangerous fields. Though jobs in this sector generate more than $1 trillion annually for the U.S economy, fishermen and loggers have the highest fatality rates of any occupation and consistently rank among the highest injury rates, too. Common issues include overstraining in the field, injury from falling trees, getting hurt aboard boats at sea, and more.

  • #6. Construction and extraction
    18/ Brisbane City Council // Flickr

    #6. Construction and extraction

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 178.0

    Median days away from work: 13

    Number of cases: 90,770

    Almost 6.5 million people work at 252,000 construction sites across the United States each day, and construction and extraction sites are messy, dangerous places. Risks include falling from ladders or scaffolding, electric shock, failing to use protective equipment properly, and repetitive-motion injuries.

  • #5. Healthcare support
    19/ Senior Airman Ashley Gardner // U.S. Air Force

    #5. Healthcare support

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 189.2

    Median days away from work: 6

    Number of cases: 58,510

    This industry includes massage therapists, occupational therapy aides, orderlies, and others. Because of the nature of the work, these workers might encounter biological hazards, strain from lifting too-heavy equipment, burns from lasers, injuries from lab accidents, illness from radioactive material or X-rays, illness from blood-borne pathogens, and more.

  • #4. Installation, maintenance, and repair
    20/ Dave Pape // Wikimedia Commons

    #4. Installation, maintenance, and repair

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 194.6

    Median days away from work: 10

    Number of cases: 95,430

    Whether climbing onto roofs to install cable systems, being suspended from telephone poles to repair electrical lines, or going underground to fix pipes, there are many types of installation, maintenance, and repair jobs. There are plenty of hazards on the job, including falls and encountering dangerous materials.

  • #3. Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance
    21/ Cathy Stanley-Erickson // Flickr

    #3. Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 233.2

    Median days away from work: 8

    Number of cases: 77,670

    Maintenance jobs are tricky—they often require dealing with broken items or areas. Cleaning, on the other hand, involves dealing with wet floors, entering hazardous areas, and going into messy places. Depending on the exact type of work, there are risks of falling, tripping, slipping, electrocution, exposure to mold, or being exposed to hazardous chemicals.

  • #2. Transportation and material moving
    22/ Oregon Department of Transportation // Flickr

    #2. Transportation and material moving

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 235.3

    Median days away from work: 13

    Number of cases: 195,800

    Heavy lifting is key for many of these gigs, such as shelf stockers and movers. The work comes with the risk of body strains or having items dropped on limbs. This industry also includes taxi drivers and bus drivers, who might be injured while on the road, as well as flight attendants, who deal with all the risks required of walking around an in-flight plane, and tractor-trailer drivers or crane operators, who work with dangerous machinery.

  • #1. Protective service
    23/ Mass Communication Seaman Barry Riley/U.S. Navy // Wikimedia Commons

    #1. Protective service

    Incidence rate per 10,000 full-time workers: 298.4

    Median days away from work: 13

    Number of cases: 82,450

    Putting themselves in harm’s way is the name of the game for those in protective service jobs. This category includes firefighters, police officers, corrections officers, lifeguards, and security guards. Perhaps it’s no surprise that when facing wildfires, shooters, dangerous waters, and other high risks, these workers are among those most likely to be injured on the job.

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