Mining and police work make most dangerous jobs in 2010

Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:35pm EDT
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By Molly O'Toole

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Disasters at a coal mine in West Virginia and aboard an oil rig operated by British Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico again made mining one of the most dangerous American jobs in 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Thursday.

In private mining, fatal work injuries rose 74 percent to 172 in 2010 from 99 a year earlier, according to the government agency's census of deaths.

Fatality rates for mining rose to 19.9 in 2010 from 12.4 in 2009 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the Gulf coast, licensed to British Petroleum, exploded and killed 11 workers last April, causing the largest accidental oil spill into an ocean in history.

Also last April, an explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal Mine in West Virginia owned by Massey Energy Co killed 29 miners.

The police profession was not far behind mining as a dangerous occupation, with the number of fatalities increasing by 40 percent to 134 last year from 96 in 2009.

Of the total police officers who died on the job in 2010, 57 cases involved highway incidents and 48 involved homicides.

A preliminary total of 4,547 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2010, a slight drop from the final count of 4,551 fatalities in 2009, according to BLS.   Continued...

<p>Participants gather around crosses honoring the workers who died on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, during a service marking the one-year anniversary of the BP Oil Spill in Grand Isle, Louisiana April 20, 2011. REUTERS/Lee Celano</p>