Whitesburg KY

Deadliest jobs in Kentucky

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet this week announced the deadliest jobs in the state in recognition of Workers’ Memorial Day, which was observed on Monday. The Cabinet reviewed workplace deaths starting in 2011 to the present, and found construction workers have the deadliest job in the state. The Labor Cabinet also identified the causes of the deaths, including the top fatal four, with “struck by object” standing out as a clear number one factor. The statistics do not include mining-related deaths.

Workers’ Memorial Day is held each year to honor those workers who have died on the job, and to raise awareness for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers. It is held each April 28 because that is also the day Federal OSHA was established in 1971.

“No worker should lose a life for a paycheck,” Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry L. Roberts said in a news release. “Workers’ Memorial Day is a perfect reminder to be aware of the hazards in your workplace. In looking at the deadliest jobs in Kentucky, we realize that proper training, procedures and guidelines must be followed to keep our workplaces safe.”

There were 90 deaths from workplace hazards in Kentucky from 2011 to present. Not included in that total were seven other deaths from transportation crashes while workers were on the clock, six workplace homicides and six workplace suicides.

There were also 73 heart disease-related workplace deaths and four other deaths at work that resulted from natural causes.

Fatalities from crashes were included as workplace hazards for workers whose normal duties include driving, such as truck drivers, delivery drivers and law enforcement officers. Homicides were also included for law enforcement officers, as their normal duties include handling of criminal activity.

Other workplace deaths occurred in Kentucky, but were not included because the employers were not under the jurisdiction of the Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health (Kentucky OSH) Program, or were under federal agencies, such as the Mine Safety and Health Administration or the Federal Railroad Administration.


1. Construction worker (21 deaths)

2. Landscaping/tree services worker (16 deaths)

3. (tie) Truck driver (7 deaths)

4. (tie) Maintenance/repair worker (7 deaths)

5. Mechanic (6 deaths)

Other jobs that included workplace fatalities in Kentucky from 2011 to present include: heavy equipment operator (4 deaths), chemical worker (4 deaths), law enforcement officer (3 deaths), delivery driver (3 deaths), medical flight member (3 deaths), contract worker (2 deaths), farmworker (2 deaths), office worker ( 2 deaths), and one death each for farm equipment worker, home caregiver, paper mill worker, photographer, sales representative, lathe operator, utility worker, baking company worker, recycling worker and assembly worker.

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