Industries Most Likely to Injure or Disable their Employees

According to the most recent National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly three million people in the private sector suffered an employer-reported injury or illness in 2015. Of course, some industries are more hazardous than others. Here are the top 5 industries where people get hurt on the job, according to the BLS.

1. Animal Production

Farm workers come in at the highest risk of on-the-job injury, according to the BLS, which defines the animal production industry as “raising and fattening animals on ranches, farms, and feedlots for eventual sales as products.” In 2015, the animal production industry reported 6.6 injuries for every 100 workers, or 6.6 percent.

2. Nursing and Residential Care

Nurses and other health care workers are the second most likely to be injured on the job. The BLS reported injuries for 6.5 out of 100 people in this industry, which was a total of around 165,000 people. Another statistical point to this industry is that state- or government-run facility employees were nearly twice as likely to be injured at work than employees of private facilities, with 11.7 injuries per 100 state or government workers.

3. Couriers and Messengers

The BLS defines couriers and messengers as people who pick up and deliver items within a business or directly to other businesses, traveling by “foot, bicycle, motorcycle, automobile, or public conveyance.” Within this employee group, there were 6.4 injuries per 100 workers reported in 2015, for a total of nearly 30,000 injuries.

4. Wood Product Manufacturing

Manufacturers working with wood in 2015 saw injury rates of 5.9 injuries per 100 workers, or nearly 6 percent. According to the BLS, this category of jobs includes any business that involves sawing, planing, shaping, assembling, and laminating wood products that start from logs.

5. Air Transportation

The fifth riskiest industry in the United States is air transportation, which is defined as including both airplane and helicopter flights. Workers in this industry include pilots, cargo and freight agents, and mechanics. These employees were injured at a rate of 5.8 per 100 workers in 2015.


For people who are injured on the job, federal programs such as Social Security disability, as well as disability law, can help to recover lost income and provide compensation in the event that you are no longer able to work. If you work in these high-risk industries, it may be a good idea to familiarize yourself with social security and disability law, and potentially discuss your options with an attorney if you are injured on the job.

Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a startup enthusiast and entrepreneur who provides insights into the world of Silicon Valley and beyond. As a former startup founder, Mark lends his expertise to aspiring entrepreneurs through mentorship and his incisive writing.