Occupational Safety and Health Administration

The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates employee safety in the workplace.  Its mission is to assure safe and healthful working conditions by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/3439at-a-glance.pdf

Workers within a funeral home are covered by the multiple standards and authorities of OSHA.  This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, bloodborne pathogens, hazard communications, formaldehyde exposure, and general and miscellaneous workplace safety standards.

Workplace safety is achieved with proper annual training and a funeral home specific written communication plan on file at the firm.


Employers must ensure that all employees with occupational exposure, also known as “at-risk” employees, participate in an annual in-person training program.  The training must be provided at no cost to the employee and offered during working hours. Initially, employers must provide training at the time an employee is given an assignment where occupational exposure may take place.  After the initial training, the employee should then receive annual training.

OSHA annual training is a “must attend” for funeral home OSHA compliance officers, managers, owners and anyone who maintains the funeral home’s written communication plan, trains new and continuing employees on-site and advises other staff members on compliance issues.

The New Jersey Funeral Service Education Corporation (NJFSEC) continues to make it easy for funeral firm staff to comply with this requirement. Each year, the NJFSEC schedules Mandatory Funeral Home Training that focuses on what every employee, employer, owner, manager and part-time worker must know to meet OSHA’s safety standards and other requirements.

Seminars provided by the NJFSEC are accredited for continuing education credits.  Topics covered include formaldehyde exposure, hazard communication, bloodborne pathogens, paperwork obligations and preventing back injuries in funeral service.  A distinct seminar is offered each year in order to provide different CEU programming during the two-year licensure period for the funeral director.

To review a listing of training seminars offered by the NJFSEC, visit www.njsfda.org/events.

OSHA Written Communication Plan

New Jersey Funeral Directors Services, Inc. has developed an OSHA Written Communication Plan (Plan) designed to be a tool to support the funeral home in meeting OSHA’s written communication plan obligations. The Plan incorporates OSHA’s most recent update to the respirator standards. 

The easy-to-understand Plan includes helpful information on three primary OSHA standards required for funeral homes-bloodborne pathogens, formaldehyde and hazard communication. Condensed mandated forms that help reduce the amount of funeral home paperwork, and access to online customizable forms, are included with the Plan.

Funeral firms can purchase the OSHA Written Communication Plan by completing the OSHA Written Communication Plan Contract or calling New Jersey Funeral Directors Services at 732-974-9444.

Purchase Plan

Who is “At-Risk”?

All full- and part-time employees, workers, outside contractors and anyone who comes into contact with chemicals and deceased human remains during their work at a funeral firm are considered at-risk.

“At-risk” positions include the following:

  • Funeral directors, embalmers, interns, trade people, removal personnel and morgue attendants
  • Hairdressers, cosmetologists, housekeepers and maintenance personnel
  • Individuals who handle, prepare and/or disinfect remains (sanitary care) or who perform religious ritual care or cleansing
  • Individuals who handle or come in contact with remains, medical waste and embalming chemicals, no matter how minimal 
  • Individuals who enter a prep room, no matter how briefly or for whatever reason

Everyone is responsible for creating and maintaining a safe and secure work area. There are no exceptions. Attending training sessions annually will ensure at-risk employees are:

  • knowledgeable about the types of bloodborne pathogens encountered in most funeral home prep rooms,
  • familiar with proven methods to reduce exposure risks, and
  • aware of the proper use of personal protection equipment.

Are you a mortuary student?

Apply for the NJFSEC scholarship.