By James L. Curtis and Craig B. Simonsen

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released a new Directive that is for training OSHA representatives in communicating investigation procedures with family members following a workplace fatality. Communicating OSHA Fatality Inspection Procedures to a Victim’s Family, CPL 02-00-153.

The Directive seeks to “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.” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels, notes in the news release, that this Directive “keeps the family informed throughout the investigation and settlement processes.”

While keeping the family members involved and up-to-date with the inspection is appropriate, intensive involvement by family members may complicate and elongate an already difficult investigation and could hamper reasonable resolution of any alleged violations.