You hate to even think about fatalities in the workplace, but if you’re in the roofing industry you’ve got to be prepared to handle the situation should such a tragedy happen to someone at your company. I’ll never forget listening to Scott Baxter tell the audience at our 2006 Best of Success conference about the time he got the dreaded call. Baxter shared the story about the time a supervisor at his company fell off a commercial roof before the safety manager had arrived on the site. He detailed how the initial investigation into the accident was complicated by the lack of a Spanish translator and how difficult it was to reach the family to give them the news because the contact information in the employee’s file was not up to date.

I thought of that presentation when I saw that OSHA had issued a new directive that explains how OSHA representatives will communicate with victims’ families following a workplace fatality. According to an OSHA press release, the guidance is designed to ensure that OSHA representatives speak to the victim’s family early in the inspection process to update them on the investigation and its findings. (For more on the directive, check out the RC website.)

Employers are required to notify OSHA within eight hours of a workplace fatality, so it’s important to have a crisis management plan in place and make sure employees’ files are up to date.

Crisis management is the topic of a session of Best of Success this year, so hopefully you will be on hand in Denver this September to learn from the experiences of your peers.

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