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Waste collector
Waste collector
2008 fatality rate: 36.8 per 100,000 workers.

Most Americans may not associate refuse collecting with danger; it seems like a much safer occupation than police work or fire fighting. But stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics actually reveal that collectors have a very high rate of accidents and fatalities.

The main cause is vehicle related. Collectors often take precarious perches on the sides or rear of moving garbage trucks, clinging to handles and standing on narrow running boards. If they slip, they can get crushed under the wheels of their own trucks or hit by passing traffic.

Workers also face the danger of getting hurt as the trucks use heavy machinery to compact garbage and scoop it up into the main storage area of the trucks.

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Last updated April 08 2010: 3:39 PM ET
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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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