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​Section 811: Response to a Fatality at the Workplace

Date issued: 28/02/1994


To provide a procedure to be followed in the event of a fatality at the workplace.


This policy should be applied with discretion appropriate to the circumstances surrounding the fatality.


Phase I Immediate Response
Responsibilities of department representative closest to the scene:

  • Advises the police immediately
  • Contacts Occupational Health and Safety Branch of the Department of Labour
    • Southern Saskatchewan phone 787-4134
    • Northern Saskatchewan phone 953-5052
  • Contacts the Deputy Minister and provides known information (ie. who, what, where, when, how), or instructs another employee to provide this information
  • Department representative should secure the scene of the accident and remain on the scene until relieved by senior management, or the police. This is carried out to aid any investigation of the accident and to ensure that the privacy of the family of the deceased is respected. Securing the accident scene may involve:
    • blocking doors
    • cordoning off surrounding area, and
    • ensuring nothing related to the accident is moved

Note: The police (or the RCMP) will notify next of kin.

Responsibilities of Deputy Minister (or Designate):

  • Immediately establishes a Crisis Response Team consisting of:
    • A Human Resource Branch representative
    • A Communication Coordinator (see below)
    • The workplace OHS committee co-chairs (workplace OHS committees are required to investigate serious workplace accidents under impending OHS regulations)
    • The department OHS committee co-chairs, and
    • The Region/Branch/Area Director/Manager responsible for the work unit where the fatality has occurred
  • Informs all other relevant management personnel of the incident as soon as possible

Note: It may be necessary to confirm the fatality with police in some situations. The name of the deceased should not be released until next of kin has been notified.

Phase II Secondary Response
Responsibilities of Crisis Response Team:

  • The team is responsible to coordinate an effective response and to manage/facilitate all related communication

Responsibilities of Human Resource Branch (HRB) representative:

  • Coordinates and monitors the activities of the Crisis Response Team
  • Forwards all relevant information the Deputy Minister and the Crisis Communication Coordinator
  • Contacts and informs the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at the Public Service Commission of the situation
  • Contacts Public Employees Benefit Agency (PEBA) to calculate benefit entitlement (ie. Superannuation, Group Life Insurance, Accidental Death Benefit)
  • Notifies payroll requesting processing of final payment as expeditiously as possible. The deceased employee's estate is entitled to all earned benefits (ie. Vacation, Banked Overtime, Special Northern Leave and salary for the month in which the fatality occurred)
  • The family of the deceased is contacted in person, as soon as possible (within 24 hours). The Human Resource Branch should ensure that the department does not contact the family before the police. Ideally, the HRB representative would be accompanied by Region/Area/Branch Director/Manager. The family is offered condolences and informed that a cash advance of $10,000 is available from PEBA. This advance is available to permanent, non permanent or labour service employees (SGEU, CUPE and out of scope) participating in the Group Life Insurance Plan. (Casual employees do not participate in this plan and are not eligible for the advance). PEBA requires a memo from the department regarding the fatality and a copy of the Group Life enrolment in order to process the cash advance. The advance can normally be processed in 48 to 72 hours.
  • The family is informed that they will be contacted by PEBA in the near future and asked to provide certified copies of the death certificate, marriage certificate and/or birth certificates, which are required to settle the estate. The family of the deceased should be informed if any news releases have occurred in regard to the fatality. A business card should be left for future reference. EAP counselling, available from the PSC, should be offered to the immediate family of the deceased.
  • Arranges future visit by a HRB representative to assist the family in finalizing the payment of all benefits to the estate
  • Ensures senior management informs all employees in the department of the incident as soon as possible (ie. after next of kin have been notified)
  • Arranges support for grieving staff members. This could involve EAP counselling (contact the PSC) and/or personal contact from senior department officials
  • Contacts the Department of Justice, Civil Law Division, if legal issues arise as a result of the fatality (ie. negligence)
  • Contacts the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB). A $3,500 payment for expenses may be available from WCB, along with benefits for dependents

Responsibilities of Region/Branch/Area Director/Manager:

  • Is responsible to be on site as soon as possible to assist the department OHS committee(s) in their investigation of the accident
  • In the case of an airplane crash - contacts Transportation Safety Board at 1-204-983-5548
  • Ensures arrangements for alternative service delivery are made where required
  • Ensures the Human Resource Branch representative is kept up to date on all relevant information
  • Informs all staff not to release any information regarding the accident, except to police and investigative agencies (ie. Transportation Safety Board)

Responsibilities of Communication Coordinator:

  • The Communications Coordinator is the only individual who serves as a spokesperson to any external parties (ie. the media, personal inquiries). This will ensure the appropriate and timely release of factual information. All staff should be informed that they are not to release any details of the accident to the media or the public
  • Ensures the following are notified of the fatality and updated on all major developments resulting from the accident:
      • The Minister responsible for the department
      • The Chair of the Public Service Commission (the PSC notifies other departments if necessary)
      • The affected Union
      • The Director of Correspondence at Executive Council (Director then informs Chief of Staff)

Responsibilities of Department OHS Committee Co-Chairs:

  • In order to comply with impending OHS regulations, ensures that an investigation of the incident is undertaken by the OHS committee at the workplace

Phase III Post Crisis
Responsibilities of Region/Branch/Area Director/Manager:

  • Ensures the deceased employee's personal belongings are returned to the family
  • Notifies immediate co-workers of date of funeral. (Employees are entitled to a half day off with pay to attend funeral in this circumstance)
  • It is appropriate to express condolences in person to the family of the deceased after the funeral

Responsibility of Director of Correspondence, Executive Council:

  • Ensures official condolences from the Premier are sent to the deceased employee's family

Responsibility of Deputy Minister:

  • Ensures official condolences on behalf of the department are sent to the deceased employee's family

Phase IV Follow Up
Responsibility of Region/Branch/Area Director/Manager:

  • Contacts family 30 days after death to inquire if the department can lend assistance with any outstanding issues (ongoing follow up may be appropriate)

Responsibilities of Human Resource Branch Representative:

  • Ensures payroll has completed processing any final payments due to the estate
  • Ensures the family of the deceased has accessed WCB, CPP, Group Life Insurance and Superannuation benefits and inquires if any further assistance is required


For inquiries, please contact the Human Resource Service Centre.

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If you have any questions or require more information please contact:

HR Service Centre

Phone: 1-877-852-5808 or 306-798-0000

Fax: 1-877-852-9219 or 306-798-9966

2100 Broad Street, Regina, SK, S4P 1Y5

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