The Most Dangerous & Non-Fatal Industry by State

When people think about dangerous jobs, they tend to focus on jobs where people might die. There is plenty of merit to this, as anyone working in a job where deaths are common would want to be aware. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 2.9 workers per 100,000 died in 2017, for a total of 5,147 fatalities. However, the average American is roughly 1,000 times more likely to get hurt at work than die. In 2018 alone, approximately 3.5 million American workers suffered some kind of non-fatal injury or illness.

Beware if you work in healthcare, public administration or in the courier/messenger profession, as ValuePenguin found these to be the most dangerous non-fatal industries in the U.S. Nearly 60% of the states measured reported one of these three categories among the most dangerous industries. The most dangerous job-industry connection was found in Nevada. Here, performance arts company workers were 15 times more likely to be hurt or fall ill at work than the average Nevada worker; citing 56.7 injuries or illnesses per 100 workers.

The 3 most dangerous & non-fatal industries in the U.S.

1. Healthcare

Average annual 14.09 injuries or illnesses per 100 workers

16 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming) ranked the healthcare profession as the most dangerous industry.

Working in a hospital puts you directly in the proximity of other people’s germs. There is also a lot of lifting and supporting healthcare professionals have to do to move injured or sick people around. All of that physical activity plus exposure to bacteria is the likely reason behind why hospitals are so dangerous for workers. In total, 16 states ranked health or social care as their most dangerous industry.

An image naming the dangerous states for healthcare jobs.

2. Public Administration

Average annual 13.68 injuries or illnesses per 100 workers

6 states (Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, West Virginia) ranked the public administration profession as the most dangerous industry.

Public administration professions, including police protection, correction officers and administration of housing programs, urban planning, and community development, were the most dangerous jobs across six states. The odds of police being injured or ill was greatest in West Virginia, with the likeliness being nearly five times that of other professions. Those working in corrections in Arkansas were eight times more likely to be injured or ill than the average worker.

An image naming the dangerous states for PA jobs.

3. Couriers and messengers

Average annual 8.43 injuries or illnesses per 100 workers

3 states (Alabama, Georgia, Illinois) ranked the courier and messenger profession as the most dangerous industry.

Couriers and messengers are responsible for transporting items in busy cities during all types of inclement weather. We’ve all witnessed the seemingly reckless bike riding of a messenger, so it is understandable how this profession could be one of the most dangerous. One survey found that 66% of biker injuries were a result from car and/or pedestrian collisions and only 24% said they always wear a helmet. However, only 32% of these bicycle messengers have health insurance

An image naming the dangerous states for CM jobs.

What are the most dangerous jobs within the healthcare profession?

Within the healthcare industry, those working in nursing and residential care facilities were found to work in the most dangerous, non-fatal professions across eight states.

Ohio nurses and residential care facility workers were seven times more likely than the average Ohio worker to suffer from injury and illness; the highest odds across the healthcare profession. In Maryland, those in the same field had an incident rate of nearly 21 injuries or illnesses per 100 workers.

North Carolina and Delaware hospital employees were over four times more likely to be injured or fall ill than the average worker.

An image naming the dangerous industries for healthcare jobs.

What is the most dangerous job by state?

StateIndustryIncident rate for professionIncident rate for all professionsOdds of getting sick or injured relative to the average worker in state
MaineBakeries and tortilla manufacturing19.44.84.04
VermontWarehousing and storage11.94.52.64
MontanaAir transportation18.24.44.14
WashingtonFraming contractors23.74.25.64
AlaskaFood manufacturing9.63.92.46
NevadaPerforming arts companies56.73.814.92
WyomingHealth care and social assistance16.43.74.43
WisconsinNursing and residential care facilities153.74.05
HawaiiResidential building construction9.33.72.51
CaliforniaSpecialty (except psychiatric and substance abuse) hospitals17.93.64.97
ConnecticutNursing and residential care facilities14.53.64.03
IowaNursing and residential care facilities14.13.63.92
IndianaMotor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing9.73.52.77
MichiganAdministration of housing programs, urban planning, and community development12.43.33.76
MinnesotaHog and pig farming11.83.33.58
KansasCrop production8.83.22.75
West VirginiaPolice protection14.63.14.71
PennsylvaniaUsed household and office goods moving14.13.14.55
New MexicoPolice protection133.14.19
MarylandNursing and residential care facilities20.73.06.90
UtahNursing and residential care facilities18.73.06.23
ArizonaAir transportation11.83.03.93
TennesseeSawmills and wood preservation10.13.03.37
NebraskaAnimal production and aquaculture8.23.02.73
New JerseyReal estate14.32.94.93
IllinoisCouriers and messengers9.12.93.14
New YorkNursing and residential care facilities12.52.84.46
South CarolinaNursing and residential care facilities9.72.83.46
MissouriPolice protection8.52.83.04
ArkansasCorrectional institutions21.82.78.07
OhioNursing and residential care facilities19.62.77.26
MassachusettsOther ambulatory health care services12.92.74.78
GeorgiaCouriers and messengers8.72.73.22
VirginiaPsychiatric and substance abuse hospitals10.52.64.04
North CarolinaHospitals10.62.54.24
AlabamaCouriers and messengers7.52.43.13
TexasRendering and meat byproduct processing8.42.33.65
LouisianaCorrectional institutions11.82.25.36
DCMerchant wholesalers, nondurable goods8.31.84.61
Analysis represents 42 states, including Washington D.C. based on the available data. Sorted by Statewide Incident Rate


In order to rank the most dangerous industry in every state, we compiled state level non-fatal incidents rates by industry code from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. The incident rate measures the number of injuries and illnesses you would expect in an industry per 100 workers. Florida, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota and South Dakota are not included in the list due to either outdated or missing data.

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