The Most Dangerous Jobs in Pennsylvania


If you live and work in Pennsylvania, you might wonder what industries and occupations are the most dangerous. You will probably be surprised to find out which jobs have the highest injury and illness rates, and which seem to be the safest for workers. In this blog, we’ve gathered information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to identify the most dangerous jobs in Pennsylvania.

Work Injury Rates by Industry & Occupation

Work injuries happen in every field and to all types of workers. It doesn’t matter if you spend most of your day behind a desk or are out driving a truck across the country, you could be injured or fall ill because of your work environment or job duties. To find out which occupations are the most dangerous, specifically in Pennsylvania, we looked at nonfatal injury and illness statistics presented by the BLS from 2019 (the latest year these numbers are available for). The BLS tracks all reported work injuries, illnesses, and fatalities throughout the United States for every industry, from coal mining to retail trade. Injury rates are represented per 100,000 workers.

In Pennsylvania, workers in the following occupations have the highest nonfatal injury rates:

  1. Utilities: water, sewage, and other systems (15.5)
  2. Ambulance services (12.5)
  3. Recyclable material merchant wholesalers (9.4)
  4. Couriers and messengers (9.1)
  5. Tobacco manufacturing (8.6)
  6. Solid waste collection (8.3)
  7. Manufacturing: plate work and fabricated structural products (8.2)
  8. Manufacturing: cement and concrete products (8.2)
  9. Waste collection (8.0)
  10. Amusement parks and arcades (7.9)

The following industries have the highest nonfatal injury and illness rates in Pennsylvania:

  1. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting (6.6)
  2. Arts, entertainment, and recreation (5.9)
  3. Transportation and warehousing (5.1)
  4. Healthcare and social assistance (4.3)
  5. Educational and health services (4.1)
  6. Manufacturing (4.0)
  7. Trade, transportation, and utilities (3.9)
  8. Construction (3.8)
  9. Leisure, entertainment, and hospitality (3.6)
  10. Natural resources and mining (3.5)

The safest industries, based on injury and illness rates, are finance, insurance, management, and real estate. All had injury rates of less than 1 per 100,000 workers.

Worker Fatality Rates

The fatality rates for occupations and industries in Pennsylvania are slightly different. This can be attributed to the nature of injuries that commonly occur in different jobs and workplaces. A mining accident, for example, is far more likely to cause fatal harm than an accident in an office. The overall worker fatality rate in Pennsylvania was 2.6 per 100,000 workers. Specific industries, however, had significantly higher rates, indicating the extreme hazards they can present to workers.

The following are the top three industries in Pennsylvania with the highest fatality rates in 2019:

  1. Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction had the highest fatality rate, at 27.1 per 100,000 workers. This is about 10 times the average for the commonwealth.
  2. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting came in second with a rate of 15.4.
  3. Transportation and utilities had a fatality rate of 7.7.

Call Our Pennsylvania Work Injury Law Firm

In any occupation or industry, you deserve to be protected from undue harm. Your employer has an obligation to follow state and federal safety regulations pertaining to your workplace and job duties. They must maintain a reasonably safe environment and include proper training and equipment to prevent serious accidents and injuries. When they fail to do so, it is innocent workers who pay the price.

At Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC, we’ve been fighting for workers throughout Pennsylvania since 1922. We have helped thousands of people get the workers’ compensation benefits and personal injury settlements or awards they deserve for on-the-job injuries, illnesses, and deaths. There is nothing more important to our team than seeing our clients face brighter futures because we have helped them get the care and support they need to rebuild.

To learn more, call (888) 498-3023. Your consultation is free, and if we take your case, you pay no legal fees at all unless we win a settlement or award on your behalf.

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