Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Terry Bunn, PhD

Committee Member

David Mannino, M.D.

Committee Member

Svetla Slavova, PhD


Background: Young workers have been more vulnerable to fatal and nonfatal work injuries. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the injuries that led to fatalities in younger workers, the goal of this study was to compare characteristics of young worker fatal injuries in those aged 16-24 to all workers aged 25 and older in Kentucky using a descriptive analysis.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of fatalities among workers under the age of 25 compared to workers aged 25 and older was performed over a ten-year period from 2005-2014 using Kentucky Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program data.

Results: From 2005-2014, there were 61 young worker fatalities for the 16-24 age group (Table 1). For the same time period, there were 930 fatalities aged 25 and above. The majority of young workers who died on the job worked in the construction (21%), professional and business services (20%), and the natural resources and mining (18%) industries (Tables 2 and 3). Falls, struck bys, and suicides occurred more frequently, and at equivalent percentages in young worker fatalities (18% each) compared to older worker fatalities (Table 4). Occupational fatality rates declined in both worker groups over the study period and displayed similar trends (Figure 1). The overall occupational fatality rate for young workers was 2.28 per 100,000 workers, and for older workers, the overall occupational fatality rate was 5.71 per 100,000.

Conclusions: Despite the decline in young worker fatality rates over the recent years, young worker occupational fatalities are still occurring yearly. Employers should assess hazards daily. Engineering controls and processes, could be implemented to reduce falls and struck by incidents. Employers should ensure that their workers are properly equipped to perform the job task at hand as well as knowledgeable about the potential hazards they could be exposed to.

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