Most Dangerous Jobs

Taxi and CopOn a Last Word internet exclusive, Michael Moore makes a plea to the police officers of New York to join the Occupy Wall Street protests. Absolutely. He is right about this and I hope that some answer his plea. I have nothing particularly against the police. They are working stiffs just like the rest of us 99%. But then Moore said something that really bugged me. Actually, he said two things that really bugged me. Both fall under the same category: people very often defend the police (sometimes to justify their misbehavior) because of their supposed dangerous jobs and their low pay. Ha!

Did you catch the one about danger? “You have the most dangerous job in the country.” Sorry. Not even close. I am so tired of hearing this lie. Here is a list of the ten most dangerous jobs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the year 2009 (the numbers represent the number of deaths per 100,000):

  1. Fishing: 116
  2. Logging: 91.9
  3. Aircraft engineering: 70.6
  4. Farming: 41.4
  5. Mining machinery: 38.7
  6. Roofing: 32.4
  7. Refuse collection: 29.8
  8. Driving: 21.8
  9. Industrial machinery: 20.3
  10. Policing: 18.0

What most strikes me here is that taxi drivers are at number 8 (along with truck drivers). Unlike most of the other workers on this list, taxi driving is not much more than a minimum wage job. This relates to the thing Moore said about the police salaries, “You aren’t paid enough.” Nationwide, police officer recruits are paid $51,000 according to Indeed. This does not include overtime. And it does not include the excellent benefits that the police get. Perhaps most important of all: police salaries go up with time; this is the average starting salary. For example, sergeants are paid $71,000. (They all make a lot more where I live in expensive California.) Police officers commonly make two to ten times what a taxi driver makes and they have less dangerous jobs.

Police officers can and should be part of Occupy Wall Street. But can we please stop whining about how hard they have it? We all (all 99% of us) have it hard.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

7 thoughts on “Most Dangerous Jobs

  1. I always find it fascinating that fishing is the most dangerous job. I understand after watching those Deadliest Catch shows and stuff like that. I’m surprised farming is on that list too, but I guess farming uses a lot of dangerous equipment and that could cause a lot of death and injuries.

    -Karen

  2. Yeah. We don’t tend to think of these occupations as being dangerous. But the more one thinks about it, the clearer it becomes. The statistics I’m quoting are only for deaths. I suspect that things look even better for police in regards to things like losing limbs. Also, even among police, I suspect that the most dangerous jobs are in particular geographical areas and doing particularly dangerous policing. Your average suburban cop is in about as much danger as an office worker.

  3. I was looking for information to show my son that he shouldn’t be a policeman because it’s so dangerous, and I was surprised to find this info! I guess I shouldn’t be so uptight about this, but I couldn’t even imagine farming being a dangerous profession!

  4. I imagine policing being very dangerous, i guess it all depends on what jobs you are doing. It could be one of those community support officer which has rarely any dangers, or it could be a police officer in a big city that have to stop gun and knife crimes! But farming? i suppose their are alot of dangerous machinery needing to be worked with.

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