7 of 11
As with roofing, the heights are incredibly dangerous for ironworkers.
Fatality rate: 30.3 per 100,000

Median wages: $44,500

The men and women who build the skyscrapers and bridges of modern America have always been held in awe by the general public.

Images of them walking a four-inch steel beam hanging 500-feet above the street or sliding down an I-beam illustrate the conditions that would have lesser workers curling into a fetal position and crying for their mommies.

Steve Rank helped build downtown Houston in the 1980s and now works to improve ironworker safety via negotiated rule-making with OSHA.

One thing that has changed is the number of anchor bolts set in concrete has doubled. These bolts help hold beams steady as they go up. In the past, many bolts failed.

"The structure would fall like a house of cards," Rank says.

Site preparation is also a major issue. "Before, it would look like a scud missile hit, everything underwater in mud," Rank explains. "We'd be offloading steel and the truck wheels would sink, shifting the beams and crushing people."

Rank is still negotiating with OSHA to get better rules for reinforced-concrete buildings. These can be 20-story high constructions of poured concrete with steel rebar embedded in them.

Lax regulations governing them has contributed to more than 100 ironworker fatalities over the past few years, according to Rank.

"We want to do the same thing for reinforced concrete we did with structural steel to make the job site safer," he says.

NEXT: Sanitation worker

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
10 of the most luxurious airline amenity kits When it comes to in-flight pampering, the amenity kits offered by these 10 airlines are the ultimate in luxury More
7 startups that want to improve your mental health From a text therapy platform to apps that push you reminders to breathe, these self-care startups offer help on a daily basis or in times of need. More
5 radical technologies that will change how you get to work From Uber's flying cars to the Hyperloop, these are some of the neatest transportation concepts in the works today. More

Special Offer

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.