Forgotten families following workplace death

April 28, 2014 by Jessica Hill, University of Sydney

University of Sydney academics are advocating for a greater focus on the emotional, physical and financial toll of sudden workplace death on surviving families.

"The impact of a sudden, traumatic workplace death for the families of the workers killed is rarely considered beyond the days immediately following the death," says Associate Professor Lynda Matthews from the Faculty of Health Sciences.

"This is mainly because the formal procedures and investigations are focused on making judgments about possible breaches of law. They do not recognise families' need for timely information, support and justice.

"Despite some efforts to support them, families often experience extreme isolation."

Associate Professor Matthews and colleagues are conducting a world-first study to identify improvements that will help to better manage the consequences for families.

This follows a 2011 pilot study which showed profound long-term suffering for families.

"Our interviews revealed psychological problems such as depression and anxiety, and long-term physical health consequences like obesity, and all of this on top of financial stress," commented Professor Matthews.

"The impact on the children involved was particularly disturbing, with tensions widespread and drug and alcohol use and violence common among adolescent children of deceased workers."

This has prompted a call for an increased focus on how formal protocols respond to families following traumatic work-related death.

Participants in the previous study discussed varying interactions with authorities following the death, with some acknowledging the death in meaningful ways and others responding in ways that families perceived as hurtful.

"One thing that became very clear was that protocols for keeping families informed of developments regarding inquests, investigations and court cases were not effective and require urgent attention.

"Despite recent attempts at reform, there is little evidence of regulatory processes meeting families' needs for information or support at any stage of the post- process."

Explore further: Sudden cardiac death: Genetic disease ARVC more common than hitherto assumed

Related Stories

Sudden cardiac death: Genetic disease ARVC more common than hitherto assumed

March 6, 2014
The genetic disease ARVC leads to sudden cardiac death and is more common than it has been hitherto assumed. This is reported by an international team of researchers headed by Prof Dr Hendrik Milting from the Heart and Diabetes ...

New study to focus on understanding challenges of transgender children and their parents

March 21, 2014
Amy Przeworski, assistant professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University, and graduate student Jennifer Birnkrant will lead an online study that captures the experiences of transgender and gender variant children ...

Recommended for you

Number of older people with four or more diseases will double by 2035, say researchers

January 23, 2018
A study published today in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, reports that the number of older people diagnosed with four or more diseases will double between 2015 and 2035. A third ...

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.