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These 7 Jobs May Be Hazardous to Your Health

Topics: Career Profiles
unhealthy jobs

You might think your inside job isn’t as hazardous as, say, a high-rise construction worker, but you might be wrong. There’s a lot about everyday jobs that can be bad for your health. Either you’re subject to lots of germs, lots of potentially life-threatening situations, lots of (ugh) standing all day, or risk for bodily injury.

With data from the Occupational Information Network, a U.S. Department of Labor database, Business Insider compiled a list of 37 of the most unhealthy jobs in the country. Here’s a few of them, and what you’d expect to be compensated for risking your life.


These are doctors who specialize in analyzing the medical images of patients and making primary recommendations for initial treatment to physicians. They interpret images generated by an x-ray, MRI, or other machines that use radiation to create an image. While you might think this job sounds pretty cushy, it’s actually one of the more hazardous ones out there. Business Insider notes that the top risks include exposure to radiation and infectious diseases — and sitting.

The good news is the salary for a radiologist is quite high. The PayScale Salary Survey puts the median salary at $292,873.

Garbage Person

Call it “refuse collection” or “garbage man,” this job racks up a lot of hazards, for not a lot of pay. The job entails driving along assigned routes and collecting trash and recycling. Most garbage men work early in the morning, and their main “tool” is a garbage truck with hydraulic lifts, which allow the truck to pick up trash containers. Our survey says the median annual salary is a paltry $36,000. Main risks include exposure to contaminants and disease, and again, sitting.

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Nuclear Technician

OK, yes, you might expect a job with “nuclear” in the title to have a few potential hazards attached to it, but did you know that nuclear technicians aren’t paid all that well? I mean, when it comes down to risking your life, and having some kind of specific training, you’d think they were pulling down six-figures, but nope. The PayScale Salary Survey puts the median salary at $72,000 per year.

Airline Pilot

The most hazardous thing about a pilot’s job isn’t what you’d think. It’s not the flying a big machine around the sky (or even the passengers who might start fights), but the sitting that puts this one high up on the dangerous list. You can’t get a standing desk for a 747, I guess. Our survey puts the median salary for a pilot at $99,292, so at least they’re compensated well.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator

What could be safer than water? Well, not this job. When you’re working at a water treatment plant, you’re exposed to tons of hazards, putting it high on the dangerous list. And with a median salary of $41,000, it’s not even that high paying.


Oh man, feet are awful. I mean terrible. And if you’re paying someone to fix something funky going on with your feet, you better bet they’re paid well. Podiatrists have a very high salary, but also a very potentially dangerous job, too, thanks to exposure to disease, contaminants, and radiation. The PayScale salary survey puts the median salary at $124,115.

Dental Hygienist

Topping the list of hazardous jobs is one you probably weren’t even thinking of … it’s that man or woman putting their hands in your mouth every six months and shaming you on your lack of flossing. That’s right, the hygienist. They get props for dealing with your stinky breath and anxiety every year, and as a reward they get to worry about infection and other dangers every single day — plus, all that dang sitting isn’t helping them either! And their median salary is a mere $53,000, according to our salary survey.

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