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The Most Dangerous Jobs in Kentucky

Episode 81: Calloway County workers’ compensation attorney Jeff Roberts discusses some of the findings published in the 2022-2023 Annual Report from the Department of Workers’ Claims.  He’ll discuss the jobs with the most injuries, the counties where they happen and the specific types of injuries most reported as workplace injuries.  Some of the data was surprising.  Is your job one of the most dangerous jobs in Kentucky?

Jeff Roberts is a worker’s comp attorney with over 32 years of experience.  He has offices in both Murray and Hopkinsville, although he receives referrals from other attorneys from across the state.  He can handle a workers’ comp claim anywhere in Kentucky.

The report he’ll specifically reference can be accessed via this link: Compensation/2022-2023 Annual Report.pdf.

Jeff referenced a previous year’s data in Episode 70, focused on Kentucky workers’ comp injuries to minors

During today’s discussion, we’ll use a couple of terms you may not have heard, so let’s define them.  First Report of Injury (FROI) is an important statistic because in Kentucky you are legally required to report the fact that you’ve received an injury on the job.  This is commonly referred to as your Duty to Notify, discussed in Episode 23.  That notification is counted as a FROI by the employer and the Department of Workers’ Claims (DWC), even though if might not result in the filing of a workers’ comp claim for by the employee. 

The report also uses the term Litigated Claims.  This refers to the number of times an injury results in the submittal of a claim for purposes of filing for workers’ comp benefits, ultimately decided by judge.  Some claims are successfully settled without a formal hearing, so these would also be exempt from the Litigated Claims data.  Remember, some injuries, such as a minor cut or a pulled muscle would be included in the FROI number, but not necessarily in the Litigated Claims number.

Attorney Jeff Roberts discusses some of the most dangerous jobs in Kentucky

Jobs with the Highest Rates of Injury in Kentucky

According to this year’s annual report, Transportation and Warehousing topped the list for the highest number of first reports of injury situations (6,581).  Manufacturing placed second with 4,964 injuries.  According to this report, when it comes to injuries, these are the most dangerous jobs in Kentucky.  Our state has a number of automotive manufacturing plants and subcomponent factories.  For instance, there’s the General Motors plant in Bowling Green (home of the Corvette).  The Pella manufacturing plant in Murray also has job requiring the lifting of heavy items, twisting, etc.  These types of jobs can result in a number of common injuries related to manufacturing (refer to Episode 61 for more information).

Healthcare and Social Assistance had the third highest rate of injury (4,215) in 2022-2023.  Jeff covered injuries to nurses and others in healthcare services, in Episode 62. 

Surprisingly, Educational Services ranked fifth with 3,643 first reports of injury.  Part of the explanation could be that universities tend to be some of the largest employers in a community.  Locally, we have Western Kentucky University and Murray State University.  These institutions have large teams of cleaning services, cafeteria services, maintenance and grounds crew staffs.  All of these can be physically demanding jobs, often resulting in work-related injuries. 

Beyond the college and universities, there’s often a large number of employees working for the local Board of Education or an entity such as the Murray Independent School District. Hopkinsville has the Christian County Board of Education, which is a large employer in the county, along with the Hopkinsville City School District.

Interestingly, the category of Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting has a relatively low rate of first report of injury (345).  One reason for this is that in Kentucky, many farms are exempt from a requirement to offer workers’ compensation insurance.  The farmer has to choose to be covered under workers’ comp, which is usually because the farm uses migrant workers. 

Jeff comments that the increase in FROIs for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 might be explained by the inclusion of COVID-related claims, which fell under workers’ comp. 

Industries with the Largest Rates of Injuries in Kentucky

As we dive further into the report, there’s also a table of Claims by Industry.  After the general “Unclassified” category, Manufacturing leads the report with the largest number of claims for workplace injuries (443).  Again, to clarify, the number of claims does not include the number of injury claims that were settled before they had to be litigated. 

Jeff has represented a good number of employees from Local 2164 at the GM plant in Bowling Green.  There’s also the Fruit of the Loom and BG Metalforming plants in Warren County.  Sun Products has a large distribution facility in Warren County.  Walmart has a large distribution center in Christian County.  Distribution covered in the Transportation & Warehousing category (278 litigated claims).

Injury Claims by Body Part

The DWC’s Annual Report also provides statistics related to the body parts that were injured.  The data has a category for Multiple Body Parts (727), which makes it difficult to define.  However, Shoulders are the second most commonly-injured body part (358) followed by Low Back Area (298) and Knee (213). 

All of these are common for manufacturing environments and warehousing centers.  Jeff confirms that the shoulders, neck and back and knee injuries are very familiar to him, based on the types of workplace injury cases he’s handled over the past 32years. 

Highest Rates of Injury by County in Kentucky

Given the population clusters in Jefferson County and Fayette County, one would expect these to lead with the highest rates of injury.  However, it was a surprise to see Warren County in third place (tied with Boone County in Northern Kentucky for Litigated Claims).  Warren County is ranked third for both First Report of Injury (1,543) and Litigated Claims (29).  Unfortunately, that makes Warren County very highly ranked for some of the most dangerous jobs in Kentucky.

Again, remember that Litigated Claims does not include the number of claims that are successfully resolved before litigation, so that’s why the 29 number seems low.

Jeff is prepared to take your workers’ compensation claim as far as possible to ensure a fair result is obtained, on behalf of his client.  We’ve recorded a couple episodes discussing Jeff taking cases all the way to the Kentucky Supreme Court.  Check out Episode 19 and Episode 14 for more information.

What Do Other Clients Think About Jeff?

We always encourage listeners to read the Google Reviews Jeff Roberts has received from many of his clients.  A 5-Star rating and the comments are earned recognition and demonstrate Jeff’s commitment to his clients.  As a solo attorney, he has more Google Reviews than some firms with multiple attorneys.  Jeff shares the credit with his staff at the Roberts Law Office.  Successfully representing a victim of an automobile accident is a team effort.  It’s why Jeff likes to say his firm offers small town service with big city results.

Jeff Roberts Represents Injured Clients Throughout Kentucky

With offices located in Calloway County and now Christian County, Jeff has a history of representing personal injury clients, workers’ compensation clients and social security disability clients across the state.  He’s represented clients from Paducah, Bowling Green, Louisville, Covington, Whitesville and many other Kentucky locations.  He’s not just a Western Kentucky injury attorney. 

We hope you found this episode insightful and helpful.  Thank you for listening!                                                                                                    

Is It Time to Speak with an Attorney about Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

The office phone number is (270) 753-0053 or toll free at 800-844-5108.  For more information, visit This podcast is meant to provide information and is not legal advice.  Jeff’s principal office is located at 509 Main Street, Murray, Kentucky.  Co-host Jim Ray is a non-attorney spokesperson.  This is an advertisement.