Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in the Federal Government

Categories: The Insider

The recent mail bombs scare in which a Florida man has been charged with sending explosive devices to some of Trump’s well-known opponents shines a spotlight on the danger postal workers face each and every day when they handle packages.

Federal employees at other agencies are facing unique threats of their own. Because of the nature of their work, federal employees are more likely to suffer an injury on the job than those in the private sector. Specifically, employees working at these agencies are more likely to get hurt on the job:

Here are a few examples of dangerous federal jobs and why they are dangerous:

Department of Veterans Affairs

Healthcare workers are more likely to get injured on the job than those working in other industries. They are at risk of slipping and falling while lifting or moving patients. They are exposed to chemicals, infectious diseases, radioactive materials, and hazardous drugs. They are under the demands of working long hours, working in the evening, at night, or early in the morning. Those working in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals often face workplace violence.

Bureau of Prisons

Our BOP correctional officers put their lives on the line every time they put on that uniform. They watch over some of the most dangerous inmates in America to keep communities outside the prison walls safe. Severe budget cuts and understaffing make it difficult for them to do their jobs. In fact, understaffing is taking its toll, and both officers and inmates are paying for this with their lives. Correctional Officer Eric Williams was killed by an inmate at U.S. Penitentiary Canaan in Pennsylvania when he was alone with 130 inmates with only handcuffs and a radio to protect himself. Convicted gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was just murdered by other inmates at U.S. Penitentiary Hazelton in West Virginia.


TSA officers are on the front line defending the nation against terrorism every day. As a result, they are exposed to all kinds of danger: terrorists, explosives, disgruntled travelers who either verbally abuse the officers or even physically attack them. With the current anti-government climate the past several years, officers are facing higher risks.

In 2013, for example, an anti-TSA gunman walked into Terminal 3 of Los Angeles International Airport and opened fire with his assault rifle, killing TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez and wounding two other TSA officers and a passenger.


CBP’s mission is to keep terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. while facilitating lawful international travel and trade. On a typical day, CBP welcomes nearly one million visitors, screens more than 67,000 cargo containers. The Border Patrol is specifically responsible for patrolling nearly 6,000 miles of Mexican and Canadian land borders and 2,000 miles of coastal waters surrounding the Florida Peninsula and Puerto Rico. They work in scorching desert heat and freezing winters, often in isolated communities throughout the country. Because of the nature of their work, CBP officers are exposed to danger ranging from armed drug smugglers to increment weather.


EPA employees are exposed to all kinds of environmental hazards during the course of their work. EPA law enforcement special agents’ job is even more dangerous. Besides braving dangerous chemicals, toxic air, and possible explosions, they also risk running into armed individuals who could pose a fatal danger.

National Park Service

NPS park rangers’ job involves more than just providing a park’s wildlife and vegetation information to visitors. They rescue stranded climbers, set up signs at dangerous areas, help fight wildfires, arrest drug dealers, stop poachers, and help fellow cops chase armed suspects. Needless to say, NPS has one of the highest injury and illness rates in the federal government.

Federal firefighters

Firefighters have one of the most dangerous jobs in the federal government. They are exposed to smoke inhalation, burns, explosions, injuries from collapsing buildings, natural disasters, stress, heart disease, cancer, and respiratory illnesses. Federal firefighters work at agencies like the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, a VA facility, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the U.S. military.

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