6 of 11
BACKNEXT
Roofers
Roofers
Illinois-based roofer Kevin Coleman
Fatality rate: 34.7 per 100,000

Median wages: $33,970

Height increases danger -- and roofing is an occupation where elevation is part of the job description.

Kevin Coleman has been roofing safely for 24 years, since age 18. He works commercial buildings with mostly flat roofs, so the possibility of falling is lower. Although he has worked as high as a 70-story building in downtown Chicago.

One particular hazard is hot tar. The roofers work with big buckets of the stuff heated to as much as 525 degrees.

"I got hurt only once," says Coleman. "A guy's shirt with a lighter in the pocket fell into the tar and exploded. My face was covered." He escaped with only a few scars.

Safety has increased for roofers.

"When I started, it was `Get up on the roof and go,'" he says. "Now you take OSHA safety courses and there's more safety equipment, too."

Roofers can fall even off flat roofs with no wall height, so one innovation was to set up a line of flags, six feet from the roof's edge, like an outfield warning track.

There's also more protection, such as restraints and nets, to catch workers when they do fall. But the prime reason for a steady drop-off of injuries and fatalities is better training, according to Coleman.

NEXT: Ironworkers
Last updated August 20 2010: 9:38 AM ET
  • Find Homes for sale
    Real estate and homes for sale on Trulia

  • Property Type
  • Find a home in:
  • New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
  • Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options
More Galleries
Secrets to success from Smalltown USA University of Utah professor Michael Glauser cycled 4,000 miles this summer, visiting 100 entrepreneurs across the country. Here's a snapshot of how they grew their businesses. More
7 scams that will make your blood boil All scams are heartless. But these seven schemes, which prey on the nation's most desperate and vulnerable -- from the homeless to the elderly -- will really make you mad. More
For sale: The world's most expensive apartment A penthouse apartment in Monaco is expected to sell for $400 million. More

Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.