New OSHA Directive Aims to Improve Communication With Families After Workplace Deaths

Jeffrey Steele, Construction Dive

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued updated guidance to improve communication with family members of the deceased when the agency investigates a workplace fatality. While a similar 2012 directive improved communication for a time, it had fallen out of use over the years.

More than 5,000 U.S. workers perish from falls, drownings and other workplace trauma each year, while another 95,000 die annually from long-term exposure to asbestos, silica and other toxic substances. The latter are not always recorded as workplace-related, nor are typically investigated by OSHA as other workplace deaths are.

Organizations supporting those impacted by workplace deaths and illnesses have spoken in favor of OSHA's new directive, which details how the agency should approach family members during each step of its inspection process.

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