The Top Killer of Kentuckians at Work Is...

New data released Wednesday shows the top killer of people at work in Kentucky.

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet examined the causes of worker fatalities each year in Kentucky from 2012-14, and found the heart attack was the overwhelming number one cause of death at work. 

“It’s especially important to consider the health and wellness of the most significant driving force of our economy – the workers of Kentucky,” said Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry L. Roberts. “Employers should do everything they can to raise awareness about cardiovascular health, and everyone needs to keep an eye on their blood pressure and cholesterol levels while paying close attention to diet and exercise.” 

In the three years of 2012-14, 87 Kentuckians suffered fatal heart attacks while on the job. In that same time period, there were eight other deaths from natural causes, such as pancreas failure, stroke, and brain aneurysm. As for work-related fatalities, 28 resulted from being struck by an object, 19 from falls, 17 from transportation crashes, 13 from being caught in or between objects, seven from electrocution, and one each from hyperthermia and suffocation. 

The victims of heart-related workplace deaths had an average age of 53 years old. Of the 87 heart-related deaths, 10 were truck drivers. The truck driver was the most likely occupation in Kentucky to have a heart attack on the job, while machine operator (seven) and maintenance worker (six) rounded out the top three.

The deaths included in this study fall under the jurisdiction of the Kentucky Occupational Safety and Health (Kentucky OSH) Program, and do not include fatalities under federal agencies, such as the Mine Safety and Health Administration or the Federal Railroad Administration.

-Staff report

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