The 21 deadliest jobs in America for baby boomers

The American workforce is getting older, and a new report suggests that this could lead to more danger on the job for aging workers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics published an in-depth analysis of older workers’ fatal injuries on the job over the years in its Monthly Labor Review at the end of January.

The report noted that Americans who are at least 55 years old are making up an increasing share of the labor force in recent years. As the number of American employees who are 55 and older has more than doubled since 1992, the earliest year for which BLS reported data on occupational injuries, the number of workplace fatalities among the cohort of older workers each year has also increased dramatically.

In 2018, the fatal injury rate was higher for employees in the 55-64 age group, at 4.3 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, and the 65 and older age group, at 9.6 per 100,000 workers, than all other age groups and the national average of 3.5.

Fatal injury rates for older workers have consistently been higher than the national average for years. For instance, in 2010 the fatal injury rate for workers in the 55-64 age group was 4.7 per 100,000 workers, and 11.9 for workers 65 and over, while the national average among all ages was 3.6.

Although fatal injury rates for the older age cohorts have not changed much over time, there has been an increase in the number of fatal injury cases of older workers as older Americans become a larger part of the workforce.

Meanwhile, the number of fatal injuries has been decreasing for younger workers. The authors of the BLS article wrote, “while workers overall saw their fatal occupational injuries decline by 17 percent from 1992 to 2017, older workers incurred 56 percent more fatal work injuries in 2017 than in 1992.”

BLS reported that deaths among older workers made up 35% of all workplace fatal injuries in 2018, a 2 percentage point decrease from the record-high share the previous year. Of the 36 million workers age 55 and over employed in 2018, there were 1,863 cases of fatal injuries. This was similar to 2017 when there were 1,930 fatal workplace injuries among the 35 million older workers employed.

Transportation-related fatalities were the most common cause of work-related deaths for workers aged 55 and older; this was also was the main cause for overall workplace fatalities. Transportation incidents include roadway collisions, overturned vehicles, and other vehicle incidents.

Between 2003 and 2017, one in seven workers who were at least 55 years old and died from a workplace injury were farmers, according to the report.

Among all occupations, the share of fatal injuries of older workers were higher in Midwestern states than in other regions of the country between 1992 and 2017.

Read on to find the 21 occupations with the highest total estimated number of workplace fatalities for workers age 55 and older between 2003 and 2017 along with each occupation’s share of fatal injuries among all such injuries for older workers, and descriptions of what the jobs entail from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

We also included a metric calculated by the BLS called “the propensity ratio” for each job. The ratio is the share of fatal injuries in that occupation among all fatal injuries for workers 55 and over, compared to that share for workers 54 and under between 2003 and 2017.

For instance, 16% of all workplace deaths among workers at least age 55 between 2003 and 2017 were among drivers of large trucks, while employees of the same occupation under 55 made up 14% of all work deaths for the younger age cohort during that period. Thus, the propensity ratio for large truck drivers age 55 and over is 16% divided by 14%, or around 1.2. A ratio of 1.0 means the share of workplace fatalities is the same among both age groups.

20 (tie). Driver/sales workers

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 210

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 0.8

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 0.90%

What they do: Drive truck or other vehicle and sell or deliver goods, such as food products, including restaurant take-out items, or pick up or deliver items.

20 (tie). Farmworkers: Farm, ranch, or aquacultural animals

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 210

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 0.9

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 0.90%

What they do: Attend to live farm, ranch, or aquacultural animals, such as feeding, herding, and grazing the animals.

19. Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 226

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 1.0

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 0.96%

What they do: Operate power construction equipment, such as bulldozers or derricks.

18. Janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 229

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 1.2

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 0.98%

What they do: Keep buildings in clean and orderly condition.

17. Construction managers

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 232

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 1.5

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 0.99%

What they do: Plan, direct, or coordinate the construction and maintenance of structures, facilities, and systems activities.

 

16. Fallers

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 262

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 1.1

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 1.12%

What they do: Use axes or chainsaws to fell trees using knowledge of tree characteristics and cutting techniques to control the direction of fall and minimize tree damage.

15. Electricians

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 277

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 0.7

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 1.18%

What they do: Install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring, equipment, and fixtures.

14. Security guards

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 282

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 1.0

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 1.20%

What they do: Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.

13. Farmworkers and laborers: Crop, nursery, and greenhouse

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 289

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 0.7

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 1.23%

What they do: Manually plant, cultivate, and harvest vegetables, fruits, nuts, horticultural specialties, and field crops.

12. Industrial machinery installation, repair, and maintenance workers

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 312

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 1.0

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 1.33%

What they do: Keep machines, mechanical equipment, or the structure of an establishment in repair.

10 (tie). Carpenters

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 328

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 0.8

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 1.40%

What they do: Construct, erect, install, or repair structures and fixtures made of wood.

10 (tie). Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 328

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 1.3

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 1.40%

What they do: Drive automobiles, vans, or limousines to transport passengers.

9. Hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 350

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 0.6

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 1.49%

What they do: Manually move freight, stock, or other materials or perform other general labor.

8. Light truck or delivery services drivers

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 384

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 1.1

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 1.63%

What they do: Drive a truck or van primarily to deliver or pick up merchandise or to deliver packages.

7. Commercial pilots

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 424

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 1.6

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 1.81%

What they do: Fly and navigate planes and aircrafts that require a Commercial Pilot certificate.

6. Landscaping and groundskeeping workers

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 428

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 1.0

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 1.82%

What they do: Landscape or maintain grounds of property using hand or power tools or equipment.

5. Construction laborers

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 606

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 0.4

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 2.58%

What they do: May operate different tools and prepare construction sites, such as by digging trenches or cleaning up debris.

4. First-line supervisors of retail sales workers

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 616

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 1.4

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 2.63%

What they do: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of retail sales workers in an establishment or department.

3. First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 631

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 1.3

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 2.69%

What they do: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of construction or extraction workers.

2. Agricultural managers (farmers)

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 3,217

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 6.3

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 13.71%

What they do: Plan, direct, or coordinate the management or operation of farms and other agricultural establishments.

1. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

Number of fatal injuries for workers age 55 and older from 2003-2017: 3,772

Propensity ratio for workers age 55 and older: 1.2

Share of fatalities of older workers from 2003-2017: 16.08%

What they do: Drive a tractor-trailer combination or a truck and may need to unload the truck.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

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