15 Australian workers have been killed so far in 2016, and based on statistics below, an additional 175 people may die in work related incidents this year.

Workplace fatality stats

Whilst many organisations properly devote vast resources and time to managing health and safety, and have processes in place to respond in a time of crisis, many don’t have a plan for managing the people issues during a crisis.

Some confronting questions that can arise are:

  • when is the right time to pack up a colleague’s desk or empty out their locker?
  • will the family want to see former colleagues and senior managers at their home and at the funeral service?
  • will a family want to see the scene of the incident?
  • what additional assistance might friends and families need and who should convey offers of assistance to them?
  • how should a memorial be managed?

We have numerous other examples of people issues that will arise and our experience over the last 20 years has shown us that clients who have successful responses have a clear framework and accountability for consulting with family members and co-workers about key people issues.

The most comprehensive crisis management plans will not be able to predict and plan for all of the reactions of co-workers, friends and the family of the deceased. However, careful planning can alleviate some of the risks associated with this aspect of your company’s crisis response.