National News Release
Tuesday, April 13, 1999; 11:15 AM (EDT)
Contact: David Saltz (202) 219-8211; Bonnie Friedman (202) 693-1999
OSHA NAMES SPECIAL LIAISON TO ASSIST VICTIMS AND FAMILIES
Workers who are hurt on the job and families of workers who are killed will get special assistance when they need information from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
"We want to make sure that when a worker is hurt or killed on the job that the victim or the family has as much information as possible about what happened," Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman said. "We are naming OSHA's Art DeCoursey to serve as special liaison to help victims and their families get the information they need from OSHA."
Charles N. Jeffress, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said DeCoursey will work with victims and their families when information or assistance is needed beyond that usually provided by OSHA area and regional offices across the country.
"We must continue to be sensitive to the special interests and needs of families of those who are hurt, ill or killed on the job," Jeffress said. "In most cases information flows smoothly. For those unusual cases where special assistance is needed, Art DeCoursey will be ready to help."
Specifically, DeCoursey will provide a second-tier of assistance beyond that provided by OSHA area and regional offices by:
Responding to the concerns of victims and their families about how OSHA conducts inspections and accident investigations. This includes guidance on timing of the release of information and how the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts affect disclosure of agency information.
Ensuring that all OSHA area offices have consistent procedures in place for providing information to victims and their families, and ensuring that office staff are fully trained in using the procedures.
Serving as a liaison to organizations that represent or advocate for victims and their families; and
Bringing to the attention of the assistant secretary special matters or issues that require his attention.
"This is a new beginning for OSHA," said Ron Hayes, founder and director of Families In Grief Hold Together. "In taking this step OSHA is showing compassion and respect for victims and their families. I have long advocated the need for a special family liaison in OSHA and thank Assistant Secretary Charles Jeffress for making it happen." Hayes founded FIGHT in 1995 after the death of his son in a grain handling accident.
DeCoursey, who also serves as Jeffress's liaison for small business, came to OSHA in 1997 following three years at the Small Business Administration. He came to Washington in 1993 after working for 15 years for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the last seven of which he served as manager of field operations for the Division of Local Mandates in the Auditor General's office. DeCoursey is a former resident of Carver, Mass., where he served for five years as a member of the town's Board of Selectmen, the town's governing body.
U.S. Labor Department News Releases are accessible on the Internet at: http://www.osha.gov.
The information in this news release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 219-7316.