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Introduction to Management Skills

Safety Within Funeral Homes

Understanding the License Process  
Control of Communicable Diseases  
Awareness of Updated Product Information  
Cemetery Management  
Understanding Veteran Affairs Benefits  
Understanding Insurance - Life and Final Expense  
Understanding Contracts and Trusts  

Safety Within Funeral Homes  Resources/Vita for Management

Who’s Covered By OSHA?

Any employer with one or more employees is covered, and can be cited under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Act of 1970. In addition, employers with 11 or more employees are required to comply with OSHA’s Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness (29 CFR 1904) requirements. Under 29 CFR 1904, employers are required to maintain occupational injury and illness records. The purpose of maintaining these records is to:

  • Provide injury and illness information which is used by OSHA to measure and direct the agency’s efforts 
  • Enable employees and employers to identify types and causes of injuries and illnesses at each establishment 
  • Make employers and employees more safety conscious

It is the employees’ responsibility to comply with safety and health standards, rules and regulations.

Funeral Homes and OSHA’s General Industry Standards
A number of occupational activities performed in funeral homes fall under OSHA’a General Industry Standards. These general industry standards are discussed in this document. Funeral home operators must be aware of the following regulations in order to stay compliant.

The Right-To-Know Law
Officially know as The Hazard Communication Standard 29 CFR 1910.1200 and enacted November 25,1983, by OSHA. Its purpose is to ensure that chemical hazards in the workplace are identified and evaluated, and that the information concerning these hazards is communicated to both employers and employees. This transfer of information is to be accomplished by means of a comprehensive hazard communication program that includes container labeling and other forms of warning including Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) and employee training.

Hazard Communication Plan
The purpose is to provide to the employee a written plan concerning hazards associated with chemicals in the workplace. This written plan must be available to the workers in their worksite. This plan would include:

Chemical Information List
A list of all chemicals

Material Safety Date Sheets (MSDS)
Identifies the hazardous chemical and common name, physical and chemical characteristics of the hazardous chemical. A list of the hazardous chemicals known to be present that is referenced with a MSDS sheet and also labels on the containers themselves. The law allows electronic access to the maintenance of paper copies of MSDS.

Most likely they are stored in a loose leaf binder easily located in the workplace.

  1. Information contained on a MSDS:
    1. The identity used on the label
    2. The chemical and Common names of all hazardous ingredients
    3. Physical and chemical characteristics
    4. Physical hazards including the potential for fire, explosion and reactivity
    5. Health hazards including signs and symptoms of exposure
    6. Primary routes of entry
    7. The OSHA permissible exposure level
    8. Control measures for the chemical
    9. Emergency and first aid procedures
    10. The name, address and telephone number of the chemical manufacturer
  2. MSDS must be supplied by manufacturer to employer at the time of shipment of chemical
  3. If MSDS is not supplied with chemical, the employer must request one from the manufacturer as soon as possible
  4. MSDS must be available to employees in the workplace

All containers must be labeled with:

  1. Identification of the hazardous chemicals
  2. Appropriate warnings
  3. Manufacturer name
  4. Not required to label containers for immediate use (embalming machines)

Hazards training can be accomplished by either: informing the employee of the hazard(s) of each chemical, or by informing the employee of the hazard(s) of all the chemicals in a room. In the case of the embalming room of the funeral home, some of the hazards include carcinogenicity (cancer causing potential), toxicity (potential to be poisonous) and mutagenicity (potential to cause mutations). Mutagenicity is especially true for female embalmers who may be pregnant. If an embalmer / Funeral Director is pregnant, she should contact her health care provider to determine any hazards she should be cautious of. When the employee contacts her health care provider, she should take with her the chemicals that are used; this can be a listing of the chemicals from the OSHA manual.


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