The 32 most dangerous jobs for your health
- Using data from the Labor Department's O*NET occupational database, we found jobs that have high exposure to seven factors that could be risky to your health.
- While many of the jobs fall in unsurprising fields like mining or firefighting, the top of the list includes several dentistry roles.
Going into dentistry might be more dangerous than it appears.
The Department of Labor's O*NET Online occupational database includes survey-based measures of several work environment characteristics for the nearly 1,000 occupations tracked by the database.We took a look at seven of those characteristics that could present risks to a worker's health: exposure to contaminants; exposure to disease or infections; exposure to hazardous conditions; exposure to hazardous equipment; exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings; exposure to radiation; and time spent sitting (as several studies indicate that spending an excessive amount of time sitting can lead to serious health consequences).
The O*NET database assigns scores to each job between 0 and 100 for each of these characteristics, with 0 indicating that the job doesn't have that characteristic at all, and 100 suggesting that the characteristic is a major part of the job.
To get an overall sense of how potentially dangerous a job is to one's health, we took the average of O*NET's scores for those seven characteristics.
Many of the occupations that ended up with high overall unhealthiness scores fall into unsurprising fields like mining and firefighting. However, several of the highest-ranked jobs fall in the field of dentistry, with a combination of high exposure to disease and infections, risk of minor cuts and bites, exposure to radiation, and time spent sitting.
Here are the 32 jobs with the highest overall unhealthiness scores, along with their top three characteristic scores and a brief description of what the job entails from O*NET: