Online Program

Occupational health and safety assessment of funeral homes in Grenada

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Martin Forde, Professor, Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, St. George's University, St. George's, Grenada
Dalia Rassier, Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, St. George's University, St. George, Grenada
The occupational risk factors funeral home embalmers are exposed to when preparing bodies for burial was evaluated for all embalmers who work in the three funeral homes that operate in Grenada.

Using a structured questionnaire, on-site interviews were conducted with all embalmers in order to evaluate their knowledge, attitudes and practices related to the embalming of bodies.  All embalmers were also observed while they carry out embalming tasks and a thorough evaluation made of each funeral home’s preparation room made using a checklist put out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

All funerals homes and their embalmers agreed to participate in this study.  All funeral homes were found to be in non-compliance with OSHA requirements such as provision of adequate ventilation, proper and full use of PPE, and proper disposal of body fluids and parts in properly labeled biohazard bags.  The direct use of embalming fluids such as formaldehyde was found to be well above permissible exposure limits as set by OSHA.

This study is the first to assess the occupational environment of funeral homes in Grenada. Though equivalent agencies such as OSHA do not presently exist in Grenada, changing policies currently used by the Ministries of Health and Labor can result in meaningful workplace changes that protect those who work in the Grenadian funeral industry.  Such policy changes, coupled with regular inspections of all funeral homes, can ensure that all embalmers have a safe and healthy work environment in which to work.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the occupational health and safety of embalmers who work in funeral homes located in the Caribbean island of Grenada. Identify policy changes that can be made by the Government ministries of Health and Labor which can result in improved working conditions for all embalmers in Grenada.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health and Safety, International Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the Faculty Advisor and co-principal investigator on this research project from which the material for this presentation is based.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.