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Fatality narratives: an effective way to convey hazard information.

Spielholz P; Clark R; Sjostrom T
Prof Saf 2007 Apr; 52(4):22-25
THE WASHINGTON STATE Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program is funded by NIOSH. Through the program, staff tracks acute occupational fatalities in the state, conducts targeted research investigations, and disseminates findings and educational materia. Acute trauma fatalities are identified as events that occurred in the state to a person conducting work during the course of formal employment. The cases are identified and information is gathered from various sources, including the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), Department of Public Health, coroners/medical examiners, newspapers/media and federal agencies. The case definition and program priorities for Washington state's FACE Program largely follow the direction of NIOSH's FACE Program. However, each funded state has the opportunity to focus on specific areas and industries, which often vary by the region and makeup of industry in the state. Construction incident fatality narratives were developed by the Washington state FACE Program with the goal of providing tools for education and conducting training sessions directly with workers and companies. The one-page descriptions of the incident include bullet-point lists of best practice recommendations or requirements that could have prevented the death. Although the controls are meant to respond to the specific incident, they often apply to more general situations as well, such as hazards associated with falling from heights. The FACE narratives discuss workplace fatalities. However, the same method can be used to present other types of information such as injury risk factors. The goal of the process is to use a real incident to capture the attention of people in an industry and highlight the concept that hazards are real and can occur in operations that they perform. In some cases, workers may feel that training is removed from their reality and job. The use of fatality narratives has proven to be an effective way to connect and demonstrate real-world experience and practical controls.
Communication-workers; Hazards; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Education; Training; Injuries; Traumatic-injuries; Mortality-rates; Morbidity-rates; Construction; Construction-industry; Information-systems
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008336; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008487
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Professional Safety
Performing Organization
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division