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The 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in the U.S.

Paper cuts are the worst. That is, until you put things in perspective and realize that for many of us, our jobs require very little actual physical danger. From the relatively exotic to the seemingly mundane, certain occupations carry an underlying danger that can reach up to 116 fatalities per 100,000 workers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' most recent figures, there were 4,547 fatal occupational injuries in 2010, or four fewer than reported in 2009. The majority of these injuries occur in a handful of sectors representing the most dangerous ways to earn a living in the country.

[Related: Cool Jobs You’ve Never Heard Of]

But for the rest of us, we all know that getting a paper cut right where your finger bends is still pretty terrible.

Job: Fishing

Risk factors: The producers of "Deadliest Catch" don't need to create much artificial drama, as fishers and fishing workers have -- on average -- the most dangerous jobs in the country. Malfunctioning gear, inclement weather and transportation incidents all factor into the fact that this profession has the country's highest fatality rate, a distinction it has held since 1992.

Fatality rate: 116 per 100,000 workers; 29 total

Average annual salary: $25,590

Job: Logging workers

Risk factors: Total logging fatalities in the U.S. increased from 36 in 2009 to 59 in 2010, with more than half of the incidents resulting from being struck by an object. Dangers abound when you spend most of your days outside with heavy machinery, frequently bad weather and occasional high altitudes.

Fatality rate: 91.9 per 100,000 workers; 59 total

Average annual salary: $32,870

Job: Aircraft pilots and flight engineers

Risk factors: Though pilots are often financially compensated for the inherent dangers and responsibilities of their jobs, no amount of money can change the fact that it's a long way down. It's no surprise transportation accidents, including crashes, were a leading factor in the rate.

Fatality rate: 70.6 per 100,000 workers; 78 total

Average annual salary: $118,070 for airline pilots and $76,050 for commercial pilots

Job: Farmers and ranchers

Risk factors: Working the land may be one of the oldest professions, but new efficient technology has done little to make the job any safer. Long hours and close, consistent contact with heavy machinery and equipment represent the bulk of injuries and fatalities on the job, which is largely represented by transportation incidents.

Fatality rate: 41.4 per 100,000 workers; 300 total

Average annual salary: $60,750

[Related: $50K Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree]

Job: Mining

Risk factors: Heavy machinery, close quarters and explosive materials all play into mining's high fatality rate, which took into account the 2010 incidents of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia. Mining machine operators have an even higher rate, at 38.7 per 100,000 workers, or 23 fatalities in total.

Fatality rate: 19.9 per 100,000 workers; 172 total

Average annual salary: $37,230 to $89,440

Job: Roofers

Risk factors: It doesn't take a history in roofing to know the biggest danger is not a sunburn or a hammered finger. Falls are the leading culprit in fatal injuries, while other nonfatal injuries such as fractures make general construction work among the most injury-prone jobs.

Fatality rate: 32.4 per 100,000 workers; 57 total

Average annual salary: $34,220

Job: Refuse and recyclable material collectors

Risk factors: Trash and recyclable collectors don't get enough credit for maintaining order in society. Trash collector strikes are never a pretty thing and neither is the high fatality rate, which is mostly due to transportation incidents. It also was the fourth most dangerous occupation for nonfatal injuries, primarily lacerations.

Fatality rate: 29.8 per 100,000 workers; 26 total

Average annual salary: $34,420

Job: Truck drivers

Risk factors: Incredibly long hours and quick turnarounds complicate an already dangerous situation with a truck of up to 40 tons in highway settings. Highway crashes are the leading cause. Overexertion (23 percent of reported nonfatal injuries) from long-term poor posture contributes to additional health problems.

Fatality rate: 21.8 per 100,000 workers; 683 total

Average annual salary: $37,930 for heavy truck drivers and $29,080 for light truck drivers

Job: Stuntman

Risk factors: Even with the increased use of computer-generated images, or CGI, in movies, the job is still regarded as one of the most dangerous in the country due to long hours and the obvious dangers of their stunts. Last summer, a stuntman on the set of "The Hangover Part II" allegedly suffered severe brain injuries after an accident on set.

Fatality rate: The last available figures reflected 2.5 fatalities per 1,000 stunt workers.

Average annual salary: $70,000

Job: Police and sheriff's patrol officers

Risk factors: Law enforcement certainly has the figures to support the presumption of danger, as 134 police and sheriff's patrol officers lost their lives on the job in 2010, a 40 percent increase over 2009. Fifty-seven of the incidents were highway accidents, while 48 were reported as homicides. It also has the second-highest nonfatal injury rate.

Fatality rate: 18 per 100,000 workers; 133 total

Average annual salary: $56,250

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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