ISHN

OSHA opens up communication with fatality victims’ families

January 22, 2013

griefAccording to the fiscal year 2013 Congressional Budget Justification for OSHA, the agency will be more transparent in divulging information to the next-of-kin of workplace fatality victims.

OSHA has long been criticized by activists such as Alabama’s Ron Hayes, whose son was killed in a grain silo, of frustrating victims’ families by leaving them out of the information loop.

OSHA will finalize and begin implementing its new Directive on Communicating OSHA Fatality Inspection Procedures to a Victim's Family.

The directive provides guidance to OSHA compliance officers for communication with the next of kin following a workplace fatality. This guidance stresses that OSHA places a high priority on fatality inspections, which also demand a high degree of sensitivity and investigative accuracy.

The Directive’s three-phase approach for communicating with next of kin includes an initial communication, follow-up communications throughout the inspection, and post-inspection communications.

This approach will ensure that OSHA receives all necessary information about the victim(s), and keeps the next of kin informed from the beginning of the inspection, and as it progresses, until the case is either closed or becomes a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.