While far more men than women die on the job — of the 4,836 total deaths that took place at a workplace in 2015, 4,492 were men and 344 were women — but women are at a greater risk of being murdered there.
According to a report produced by the AFL-CIO, the cause of death for 18 percent of women who died at work in 2015 was listed as homicide, compared to only 8 percent of men.
Experts say that there are a few issues that come into play, including the fact that women are frequently targeted at their places of employment by abusive partners: The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported in 2015 that 43 percent of female victims were fatally assaulted at their place of employment by a relative or domestic partner, compared to only 2 percent of men.
Here are five of the most dangerous occupations for women:
1. Sex worker
You won’t find this in most official annual reports, but it will hardly come as a surprise to true-crime junkies that sex work is the most dangerous job for women in America by far. According to the Sex Workers Outreach Project, prostitutes are 400 times more likely to be murdered on the job than the average worker.
Research on the long-term mortality rates of sex workers is scant, but a 2004 American Journal of Epidemiology study that showed that, shockingly, the average age of death of the prostitutes in the study was 34. In fact, they found that the “workplace homicide rate for prostitutes” is 51 times that of the next most dangerous occupation for women, which they listed as “working in a liquor store.”
2. Service industry
Along with liquor stores, many women work at corner stores, bars, delis, and other places where meals and beverages are served and where a majority of all deaths are homicides. Experts also put waitresses in eating and drinking establishments into the high-risk category, as well as hotel workers, especially hotel cleaners.
In addition, the majority of workers in the travel and hospitality industry are women.
Health-care workers often deal with violent or mentally ill patients on a daily basis, which can be very risky. According to Health Care Workers Unprotected, a report by Public Citizen, around one-half of all emergency-department nurses report being threatened or verbally or physically abused. Nurses and health-care workers are also often expected to spend hours on their feet and move patients, which can lead to a high rate of musculoskeletal injuries.
4. Corrections officer
For both men and women, corrections officers have one of the highest rates of workplace injuries, mainly due to confrontations with violent jail and prison inmates.
A 2016 investigative video by The New York Times stated that the inmates weren’t some female officers’ only concern. Some of the women claim that they have faced sexual assault and harassment by their male coworkers as well.
5. Taxi/Uber driver
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration stated in 2010 that taxi drivers are over 20 times more likely to be murdered on the job than other workers. Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing companies are new, so long-term data is harder to find, but many forums for drivers contain horror stories of being punched, spit on, and even pistol-whipped by passengers. In addition to physical violence, drivers must deal with the threat of constant verbal and physical abuse from drunk or deranged riders.
For men, the professions that consistently make the top 10 most dangerous lists include driving a truck, fishing, logging, pilots, iron and steel workers, farmers, and garbage collectors.
Main photo: Liquor store in Colorado (left) [Wikimedia Commons], photo of woman in high heels (center)[Pixabay], and stock image of nurse (right) [ThinkStock]