a1 Ageing, Work and Health Research Unit, The University of Sydney, Australia
a2 School of Organisation and Management, The University of New South Wales, Australia
Over 5 thousand family members and close friends of Australian workers become survivors of sudden workplace death each year. Formal responses following the death are central to surviving families' ability to adapt, yet families' experiences of these responses are unknown. This study used in-depth interviews to explore 7 surviving family members' experiences of formal workplace death mechanisms: postdeath protocols; interactions with employers, unions, media and statutory authorities; stages of legal process including coronial inquests, prosecutions by the occupational health and safety (OHS) regulator, and civil action; and outcomes of judicial proceedings. Participants identified difficulties arising from insensitive treatment by authorities, and significant bureaucratic problems, including a lack of information, communication and support. Systematic research that fully examines families' needs and identifies organisational postdeath protocols is required to advance the management of institutional responses following workplace death and thereby improve outcomes for families.
c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Lynda R. Matthews, Ageing, Work and Health Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, PO Box 170, Lidcombe NSW 1825, Australia. E-mail: email@example.com