A new OSHA directive instructs agency representatives in communicating 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.

The agency is committed to working with families to explain the circumstances surrounding the deaths of their loved ones, says OSHA. It's important that we receive the necessary information from the family to assist in the investigation, and keep 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 and timeline, and provide the family with updates. 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.

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].

More information about the new directive is available on OSHA's directive page.