No job is totally safe. Everything we do comes with risk, no matter how small. But some jobs carry much more risk than others. The Independent crunched the numbers to find the most unhealthy jobs in the US. The rankings are based on data from a US Department of Labour database that measured six health risks, ranging from exposure to contaminants to time spent sitting. Here are the 20 jobs that most put your health at risk. They’re ranked on a scale of 1 to 100.
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19 (tie). Service Unit Operators (Oil, Gas and Mining)
Service unit operators run equipment in the oil, gas and mining industries. With an unhealthiness score of 53.7, the worst risks are exposure to contaminants, hazardous conditions and the risk of cuts and burns.
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19 (tie). Chemical Plant and System Operators
Chemical plant and system operators jobs are considered risky (score: 53.7) because of exposure to hazardous conditions and contaminants. Burns and cuts are also a concern.
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17 (tie). Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics
With an unhealthiness score of 54, EMTs and paramedics are at risk because of exposure to disease and infections, exposure to contaminants and the risk of burns and cuts.
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17 (tie). Continuous Mining Machine Operators
It's not surprising that mining makes the list. Workers who operate specialized machinery face exposure to contaminates, dangerous working conditions and the risk of cuts and burns. Operating self-propelled mining machines scored a 54 out of 100.
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16. Refractory Materials Repairers
According to the Independent, if your job includes building or repairing furnaces, kilns and boilers using refractory (heat resistant) materials, then you face a high risk of exposure to contaminants and hazardous conditions. These kinds of jobs scored 54.8 for overall unhealthiest.
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15. Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors
Working with garbage and recyclables is risky business. The job scores a 55 out of 100. The top risks are, not surprisingly, exposure to contaminants. Other risks include exposure to disease and infections and time spent sitting.
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14. Nuclear Equipment Operation Technicians
Operating equipment that uses nuclear energy in a lab or for production activities carries several risks: exposure to radiation, exposure to hazardous conditions and exposure to contaminants. The job has a risk score of 55.2.
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12 (tie). Medical Equipment Preparers
Working with laboratory and healthcare equipment can expose operators to contaminants, disease and infections and hazardous conditions. The job scored 55.7 out of 100.
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12 (tie). Airline Pilots, Copilots and Flight Engineers
Although flying is safe, you might not realize that your cockpit crew faces enough risks to score 55.7 on the unhealthiness scale. Top risks are time spent sitting, exposure to radiation and exposure to contaminants.
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11. Oil and Gas Derrick Operators
In 11th spot are oil and gas derrick operators. The job has a health risk score of 56 because of exposure to contaminants, cuts and burns and generally hazardous connections.
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10. Surgical and Medical Assistants, Technologists and Technicians
With an unhealthiness score of 57.3, surgical and medical assistants face a number of risks: exposure to disease and infections, exposure to contaminates and hazardous conditions.
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9. Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators
Maintaining mechanical equipment like engines and boilers can be risky. With a health risk score of 57.7, stationary engineers and boiler operators are exposed to contaminants, hazardous conditions and risk cuts and burns.
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8. Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators
Working in water treatment or with sewage is the 8th riskiest job on the list. With a score of 58.2, risks include exposure to contaminates, hazardous conditions and the risk of cuts and burns.
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7. Histotechnologists and Histologic Technicians
With a unhealthiness score of 59, histotechnologists and histologic technicians have the 7th riskiest job on the list. Their jobs entail preparing tissue samples for pathologists. Risks include hazardous conditions, exposure to contaminants and exposure to disease and infections.
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6. Immigration and Customs Inspectors
Guarding the nation's borders can be a risky affair. Immigration and customs jobs have an unhealthiness score of 59.3. The big risks are exposure to contaminants, exposure to disease and infections and exposure to radiation.
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Taking care of people's feet doesn't sound risky, but it is — scoring 60.2. The top risks are exposure to disease and infections, exposure to radiation and exposure to contaminants.
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With a score of 60.3, vets and their assistants have the 4th riskiest job on the list. Risks include exposure to disease and infections, risk of cuts, burns and bites and exposure to contaminants. But at least there are puppies! And kittens!
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3. Anesthesiologists, Nurse Anesthetists and Anesthesiologist Assistants
People who work in these jobs deliver anesthetics and sedatives during operations. The unhealthiness score is 62.3, and the main risks are exposure to disease and infections, exposure to contaminants and exposure to radiation.
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2. Flight Attendants
Flight attendants perform a variety of tasks, but their main job is to keep passengers safe. The job is risky, though, scoring 62.4. The main risks are exposure to contaminants, exposure to disease and infections and the risk of burns and cuts.
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1. Dentists, Dental Surgeons and Dental Assistants
And the riskiest profession(s), with a score of 65.4: dentists, dental surgeons and their assistants. The top health risks are exposure to contaminants, exposure to disease and infections and time spent sitting.