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April 17, 2012
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

New OSHA directive explains communications
with victims' families following a workplace fatality

WASHINGTON – A new Occupational Safety and Health Administration directive guides OSHA representatives in communicating investigation procedures with family members following a workplace fatality. The guidance ensures that OSHA representatives speak to the victim's family early in the inspection process, establish a point of contact, and maintain a working relationship with the family.

"OSHA is committed to working with families to explain the circumstances surrounding the deaths of their loved ones," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels. "This directive ensures that OSHA receives the necessary information from the family to assist in the investigation, and keeps the family informed throughout the investigation and settlement processes."

Under the new directive, OSHA representatives will contact the victim's family to explain the investigation process, timeline, and provide the family with updates throughout the investigation. Once the investigation is closed, OSHA will explain findings to the family and address any questions. If an employer has been issued citations, OSHA will provide a copy of the citation(s) to the family.

More information about the new directive is available on OSHA's directive page (PDF*). Employers must notify OSHA within eight hours of a workplace fatality, including fatal heart attacks that occur at work. These reports may be made by telephone or in person to the nearest area office or by calling OSHA's toll-free number, 1-800-321-OSHA [6742].

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this release will be made available in alternative format upon request (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the Central Office for Assistive Services and Technology. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.


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