Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs

Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs

Many employment environments carry a degree of risk for injury or death. Some occupations, however, are more dangerous than others. The top 10 most dangerous jobs in Chicago, Illinois, are construction, manufacturing, emergency services, law enforcement, truck driving, agriculture, power line installation/repair, roof installation/repair, logging, and commercial fishing. Common injuries stemming from these jobs include slip and falls, lacerations, repetitive stress injuries, vehicle accident injuries, and occupational exposure injuries or diseases.

Injured man assisted by co-worker in a construction site. Top 10 most dangerous jobs

You may be able to recover compensation if you or a family member has suffered serious or fatal injuries because of a workplace accident or hazard. A workers’ compensation lawyer with a record of successfully representing workers injured on the job can help you start a claim and push for a maximum compensation.

Determining the Most Dangerous Jobs in Illinois

Some occupations involve dangerous tasks and unsafe conditions that expose workers to high risk of life-threatening injuries or even death. Accident statistics and common injuries that happen in workplaces can help determine the most dangerous jobs in Illinois.

Workplace Accident Statistics in Illinois

A 2021 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses shows that industries in Illinois recorded 102,000 work-related injuries and illnesses. That figure represents an incidence rate of 2.6 cases for every 100 full-time employees. Transportation, utilities, trade, and health service industries contributed to as high as 60% of all the reported work injuries and illness.

Natural resources and mining sectors recorded an incidence rate of 4.5 cases per 100 full-time employees. Financial and information services, on the other hand, reported an incidence rate of 0.5. The job-related injury and sickness incidence rate was 3.3 for companies with 1000 or more employees and 0.8 for companies with under 11 employees.

Public industry in Illinois recorded 22,700 work-related injuries and illnesses in 2021. That figure represents an incidence rate of 4.5 cases for every 100 full-time employees. The rate was equivalent to the national rate of 4.5.

Most Common Injuries That Take Place at Work

Slip-and-Fall Injuries

These injuries are common in Illinois, as slip-and-fall accidents can happen at nearly every workplace. Fractured, dislocated, or broken bones, serious strains or sprains, back injuries, head traumas, and concussions are some examples of slip-and-fall injuries.


Lacerations happen frequently in manufacturing, construction, and restaurant settings. They require immediate medical attention. Otherwise, they may take quite a while to heal and keep the injured worker away from work longer than necessary.

Repetitive Stress Injuries

Workers in assembly lines and similar workplaces perform the same motions for several hours every day. These motions put the involved workers at a higher risk of developing repetitive stress injuries. A perfect example of such injuries is the carpal tunnel syndrome.

Vehicle Accident Injuries

These injuries are common among workers whose duties involve operating vehicles. These workers include law enforcement officers, salespeople, public transportation drivers, and commercial truck drivers. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), head injuries, broken bones, strains or sprains, and whiplash are some examples of vehicle accident injuries.

Workplace Exposure Injuries and Diseases

Workers can develop lifelong, debilitating injuries or illnesses after exposure to hazardous conditions at work. These harmful conditions can range from toxic particles in the air and carcinogenic chemical compounds to harsh temperatures and loud noises. Injuries from such exposure can affect the eyes, ear, respiratory system, skin, and other major body organs.

Crush Injuries

Workers whose job duties involve operating heavy machinery and equipment are at a higher risk of crush injuries. These injuries happen when a worker gets hit by the machinery or equipment. They can also occur when the worker gets trapped in between objects.

Illinois’ Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs


Construction occupations are some of the jobs with the highest injury rate in Illinois. These jobs involve risky tasks, such as off-loading building materials, digging trenches, constructing scaffolding, and operating heavy machinery and equipment.

Workers perform most of these tasks on high surfaces, increasing their risk of injuries and death. In fact, falls from high surfaces like ladders and scaffolding contribute to a significant percentage of accidents and injuries among construction workers.


Manufacturing is another high-risk job in Chicago, Illinois. Manufacturing employees usually work with toxic chemicals and operate heavy machinery. As such, they often get exposed to dangerous occupational hazards like toxic exposure, burn injuries, and crush injuries.

Emergency Services

Emergency services involve high-risk tasks, such as driving vehicles at high speed, dashing into burning buildings, and showing up at accident scenes. These tasks put the lives of emergency service providers at risk. Workers in this category include but are not limited to emergency medical providers, police officers, and firefighters.

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement officers often find themselves in dangerous situations, increasing their risk of fatal injuries. They may, for instance, face violent individuals during arrests, get into high-speed vehicle accidents, and sustain gunshot injuries.

Truck Driving

Individuals operating commercial trucks often get exposed to serious risks of work-related injuries or fatalities. These risks may stem from improperly loaded cargo or likelihood of getting into road accidents.


Agricultural workers often experience different types of work-related risks. They could, for instance, sustain crush injuries while operating heavy machinery or large agricultural equipment. They could also suffer vehicle accident injuries while moving from one site to another. Exposure to toxic chemicals is another leading cause of on-the-job injuries and illnesses among agricultural workers.

Power Line Installation/Repair

This high-risk job involves installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical poles, wires, voltage regulators, switches, and transformers in electrical power lines. Such tasks expose workers to higher risks of electrocution, falls from high surfaces, electric shock, and burn damage. The risks increase significantly when power companies and their employees fail to comply with the National Electrical Safety Code.

Roof Installation/Repair

Roof repair is another dangerous occupation in Illinois. Injuries among roofers often stem from fall accidents, as these workers usually perform their job duties from significant heights. Falls could arise from slipping on slippery or steep roofs or tripping over equipment while working.


Loggers face numerous occupational hazards as they harvest trees and other essential raw materials from forests. They may suffer crash injuries, get trapped in between logs, or get into vehicle accidents during logs transportation. Harsh weather conditions, such as lightning storms, could expose them to serious risks of electrocution.

Commercial Fishing

Occupational hazards faced by commercial fishing workers range from handling dangerous equipment like traps to accidents while moving from one fishing spot to another. Harsh weather conditions also increase their risk of sustaining catastrophic injuries or even getting killed. Drowning is another hazard commercial fishing workers face while performing their job duties.

How a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help Injured Workers

Hiring the right lawyer is an important part of the workers’ compensation claim checklist. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help injured workers in the following ways:

Understanding Long Term Impacts of Serious Workplace Injuries

Long-term effects of serious on-the-job injuries include unbearable physical pain, permanent impairment, and an inability to resume pre-injury work or perform any other income generating activity. Such effects often stem from severe, long-term injuries like back, spinal cord, and brain damage.

These injuries leave the worker with emotional suffering and financial constrains even after attaining full physical recovery. Your lawyer can help you understand the long-term impacts of serious workplace injuries and push for a payout that covers the full extent of the resulting expenses and losses.

Know Your Rights in the Workplace

State and federal laws require employers to create a safe, secure, and healthy environment for their employees. In the event of an injury that cause a worker to miss work for more than three days, Illinois law requires employers to report such event to the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

You may be eligible to collect weekly payments and receive medical treatment if you sustain a job-related injury that keeps you away from work. The law prohibits the employer from harassing, sacking, declining to rehire, or discriminating a worker for claiming damages under the workers’ comp act. A lawyer can explain all these rights to you and ensure they are protected.

Negotiate a Favorable Settlement Agreement

A workers’ comp lawyer can estimate the value of your claim and negotiate a decent settlement with your employer’s insurer. The lawyer will also review the settlement agreement to ensure it does not have language or provisions that can cause problems in the future.

Representing You at an Administrative Hearing or Trial

Your lawyer will argue your case before a workers’ compensation judge if settlement negotiations fail and the case move to an administrative hearing or trial. The lawyer can accurately estimate how long a workers’ comp claim can stay open in Illinois. He or she can also help you file an appeal if you are unhappy with your trial or hearing outcome.

David W. Martay David W. Martay
David W. Martay

David W. Martay, a partner at Martay Law Office in Chicago, IL, is a top-rated workers’ compensation lawyer who represents injured employees throughout the state. Known as a highly-skilled advocate for his clients, David has recovered millions for victims of workplace accidents.

Years of Experience: More than 25 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active

Bar Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association

David W. Martay David W. Martay
David W. Martay

David W. Martay, a partner at Martay Law Office in Chicago, IL, is a top-rated workers’ compensation lawyer who represents injured employees throughout the state. Known as a highly-skilled advocate for his clients, David has recovered millions for victims of workplace accidents.

Years of Experience: More than 25 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active

Bar Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association