Death at work differs from work-related death

Often immediately following an incident, the safety manager receives a brief phone call “There’s been an accident.” Information is scarce and, in my experience, often wrong or more fairly inadequate. in OHS there will always be an assumption that an injury or death is work-related as that is our patch but people die every day and they can die anywhere, even in your workplace. Is this a workplace incident? Yes. Is it an occupational incident? not necessarily.

It is vital in those first moments of confusion and panic, not to jump to conclusions and rush out to the incident site. If it is your responsibility you will become involved but often, by asking a few simple questions, you are able to avoid this confusion and avoid worsening the situation by “butting in” where you are not needed.

I was reminded of this when reading about a coronial inquest into two suicides that occurred at an Australian shooting range in October 2008. These two incidents occurred at a workplace but not from work-related activities. There may have been some workplace management issues that, in hindsight, relate to supervision or security but these are the type of issues that the Coroner will investigate.

The deaths are reportable to the OHS regulators as they occurred on a workplace but it is unlikely that the regulator will put a lot of resources into the investigation given the Police and Coroner are investigating.

4 thoughts on “Death at work differs from work-related death”

  1. The hardest funeral to say \”a few words\” at is the funeral of a suicide victim.
    The hardest thing to do is look into the hearts of the family and friends of the person in the coffin and try to find a glimmer of hope to gift them to hold onto.
    The hardest thing to cope with is knowing that the loved one in the coffin held onto life with both hands until the harshness of life within the WorkCover system became too much to cope with.

    The full comment from Rosemary is available at http://safetyatworkblog.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/workcover-and-suicides/

  2. Workcover have dragged their feet with my case to see weather my clame is legit.
    Being in purgetory dose not help, while lengthy process are putting major financial strain on me and the unknown of your future whether or not im going to be bankrupt etc. Yes it make you suicidal i can\’t remember a full week gone by i havn\’t thought about it.

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