OSHA instructs inspectors on communicating with victims’ families

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Washington – A new OSHA guidance document lays out the procedures an agency compliance officer should take when communicating with a victim’s family throughout a workplace death investigation.

Effective April 17, the OSHA document (.pdf file) explains how inspectors should inform next of kin about the investigation process, timeline and findings. It instructs compliance officers to use a “three-phase approach” to interact with family members, including initial, follow-up and post-inspection communication.

The document was released following accusations in recent years from victim advocates, who said OSHA has not communicated well with families.

“OSHA is committed to working with families to explain the circumstances surrounding the deaths of their loved ones,” agency administrator David Michaels said in a press release. “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.” ​

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