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Logger
Logger
Washington State logger Roger Smith.
Fatality rate: 61.8 per 100,000

Median wages: $34,440

Logging takes an annual toll like few other occupations. The biggest hazard, according to Roger Smith of RL Logging in Olympia, Wash., comes from logging mountain slopes.

"You're working steep terrain with 70-degree, 80-degree grades with rocks and sliding logs," he says.

About half the time, he's taking down 60- to 70-year-old trees with trunk diameters of 30 inches or more. If not felled correctly, these can go crashing down slopes, rolling over anyone in their paths.

"A lot of the time, what gets cutters is if they don't see something," Smith says. "Like trees growing together or snags."

The old forest canopies often have those snags, which are big dead branches that break off and can fall erratically when the tree comes down. Loggers call them "widow makers."

Even after the trees are cut, the job of loading them can be tough.

"Somebody just got killed here last Thursday," he says. "He was running a harvester and one of the teeth of the chain broke off and went right through the bulletproof glass window of his cab."



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Last updated August 20 2010: 9:38 AM ET
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