The Deadliest Jobs in The UK – And How Much They Pay

Firefighters put themselves at risk every time they enter a building burning. But the four tragic deaths between 2010 and 2016 means firefighting hasn’t even made the list of the UK’s most deadly jobs. 

To see what the most deadly jobs actually are and how much – or how little they pay – you can explore the list below.

(You’ll notice that despite the fact recent studies suggest sitting at your desk for 8 hours a day is more deadly than smoking, office workers don’t make the list…)

The Deadliest Jobs in the UK

  1. Farming – 167 deaths
  2. Building construction – 101 deaths
  3. Roofing and scaffolding – 69 deaths
  4. Lorry driving (Freight transport by road) – 41 deaths
  5. Joining and painting – 28 deaths
  6. Vehicle maintenance and repair – 26 deaths
  7. Electrical, plumbing and other installation – 26 deaths
  8. Civil engineering – 20 deaths
  9. Waste collection (non-hazardous) – 20 deaths

Farming – 167 deaths

Heavy machinery, working from heights, and the very real danger that animals pose (a milk cow weighs 680kg on average!) means that farms are fraught with danger, and farming is officially the most deadly job in the UK.

(Examples of relevant jobs, with average salary data from adzuna.co.uk, correct at time of publication)
Farm worker – £22,157 – see all farm jobs
Tractor driver – £21,203 – see all traffic driver jobs

Holstein Friesian cows in a field

Building construction – 101 deaths

Half of deaths on building construction sites are a result of a fall from height, but falling objects are also a big risk for builders.

Labourer – £18,080 – see all labourer jobs

Construction site - tower crane tall unfinished building

Roofing and scaffolding – 69 deaths

Unsurprisingly, falling from a height was the number one cause of deaths among roofers and scaffolders, although collapsing excavations and electrocution have also caused fatalities over the past seven years.

Roofing tiler – £24,214 – see all roofing jobs
Scaffolder – £33,800 – see all scaffolding jobs

scaffolding on a building

Lorry driving – 41 deaths

Weighing around 3.5 tons, HGV vehicles have the potential to cause a lot of damage if a driver losers control – but a quarter of lorry driver deaths were caused by other moving vehicles.

HGV driver – £23,376 – see all HGV driver jobs

eddie stobart lorry

Joining and painting – 28 deaths

Joining and painting might not sound like a particularly dangerous job but once again working from height is the culprit, with 18 out of 28 deaths resulting from a fall.

Joiner – £33,147 – see all joiner jobs
Painter – £23,796 – see all painter jobswhite paint pot and brushes

Vehicle maintenance and repair – 26 deaths

With mechanics spending much of their working day under vehicles it’s easy to identify the most immediate risk to them. But many mechanics are also called out to motorway breakdowns, which presents many risks of its own.

Mechanic – £28,269 – see all mechanic jobs

empty mechanic garage

Electrical, plumbing and other installation – 26 deaths

No prizes for guessing what was the number one cause of death for electricians – although if you guessed electrocution you’d be wrong anyway. Falls were once again the top cause of death for electricians, once again showing the real danger of working at height.

Electrician – £30,042 – see all electrician jobs
Plumber – £34,228 – see all plumber jobs

collection of old and worn light switches outside apartment door

Civil engineering – 20 deaths

Collapsed excavations, being hit by vehicles, coming into contact with electricity and even hyperthermia were just some of the causes of deaths for civil engineers, who face a range of risks depending on their project.

Civil engineer – £39,186 – see all civil engineer jobs

empty train tunnel being built

Waste collection (non-hazardous) – 20 deaths

Operating heavy machinery and extremely heavy vehicles – means that waste collection isn’t only a dirty job; it can be a dangerous one.

Refuse collector – £17,591 – see all refuse jobs

waste collection truck on a roundabout

Data compiled and adapted from HSE – 2010-2016

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