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Farmers and ranchers
Farmers and ranchers
Iowa farmer John Gilbert.
Fatality rate: 35.8 per 100,000

Median wages: $32,350

Both farmers and ranchers deal with many hazardous conditions in their workplace. In many cases, accidents result when workers get fatigued or hurry to complete a job.

"When you're tired, you may take shortcuts you shouldn't," says John Gilbert, who, along with his four brothers and eldest son, runs a big dairy and pork farm near Iowa Falls, Iowa. "Raising and harvested crops, you have short windows to get things done in the spring and fall. That leads to a lot of rushing around."

Many agricultural workers die one of three ways: being pinned in overturned tractors, truck collisions and animal incidents.

One of the biggest hazards for farmers around Gilbert's home ground is moving around augers that transfer grain from trucks or bins to silos.

"They're tall enough to get tangled in overhead power lines," says Gilbert. "Everybody knows about the hazard and is cautioned about it, but accidents happen anyway."

Almost as dangerous is taking to the roads on slow moving tractors or combines. Drivers inexperienced in rural travel may confuse the hazard lights and directional signals and think the farmer is turning left instead of right. That leads to farmers sometimes turning directly into the path of an oncoming car or truck.

Gilbert himself has been cautious, and lucky, never sustaining a disabling injury. And he does not consider farming a job: "It's a way of life," he says.

NEXT: Roofers
Last updated August 20 2010: 9:38 AM ET
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