Hazard Pay 101

Hazard pay is compensation paid over and above a normal salary or hourly rate when a job involves exceptional physical hardship. Many people are confused as to what physical hardship means. Physical hardship would be a task that causes severe physical discomfort or distress and is difficult to alleviate even when protective or mechanical devices are employed.

The following are some examples of instances when hazard pay would be merited:

  • Exposure to dangerous temperatures over a prolonged period of time
  • A grueling physical task performed in tight quarters
  • Exposure to fumes, dust or noise which can lead to irritation of the skin, eyes, ears or nose
  • Work that is performed in dangerous or hostile locations such as a war zone

Hazardous pay would also cover work that could result in an accident resulting in serious injury or death. While this could be true on many job sites, for example construction zones, hazard pay is merited in those situations when the conditions are especially perilous. For example, when work is done at significant heights but no protective measures are used or when there are dangerous conditions threatening such as lightning or high winds.

Many people are surprised to learn that hazard pay is not required under the law. Instead, in most cases it is negotiated as part of a collective bargaining agreement. If hazard pay is used, however, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires an employer to include it as part of the employee’s overtime rate.

Even if hazard pay is not included in a job’s compensation package, there are certain jobs that pay more because they are dangerous. If you are considering taking an exceptionally risky job, you deserve to be well compensated. What follows are some of the riskiest jobs that pay well in comparison to less hazardous occupations. It is up to each individual to weigh the risks and decide whether or not the money is worth it.

  1. Airline pilot
  2. Astronaut
  3. Bomb squad expert
  4. Commercial diver
  5. Commercial fisherman
  6. Construction foreman
  7. Electrician
  8. FBI agent
  9. Iron worker
  10. Mining machine operator
  11. Nurse
  12. Oil well driller
  13. Police officer
  14. Private detective
  15. Railroad conductor


Train. Prevent. Protect

Train. Prevent. Protect