New Jersey Funeral Home Injury Lawyers

Funeral workers are in constant contact with death. Their work involves working among the dead, but surprisingly, this psychosocial risk is just one of many risks of working in a funeral home. Not everyone is cut out for this type of work. The ones that are have a remarkable way of adapting towards gruesome conditions and staying clear of emotions such as disgust or fear.

What is it Like?

Working in a funeral home requires a measure of emotional intelligence. Interacting with grieving or mourning family members on a frequent basis can impact the quality of life of an average person. Even though funeral workers are seasoned professionals, not everyone is immune to the somber conditions of funeral service work. Grief can impact anyone; funeral workers may end up crying about a death regarding one of their clients. The job itself can be emotionally and physically draining, requiring on-call hours, carrying caskets, counseling families, and sometimes dealing with deaths of children and victims of trauma.[1]

Due to the nature of funeral service work, workers are often required to display serenity, empathy, compassion, and stability. This constant regulation of emotions can take a toll on workers and lead to mental fatigue, and burnout. These stresses are particularly exhaustive on the individual, and can make a person feel isolated, as well as lead to consequences such as heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and a higher vulnerability to illnesses.

One of the biggest risks of working in a funeral home is exposure to formaldehyde, which is an industrial fungicide, germicide, and disinfectant, used to preserve remains. Long-term exposure of this chemical can lead to nose and throat cancers. There are many precautions that you can take as a funeral professional to limit your risk of injury. Our firm has successfully prosecuted cases involving serious injury due to this chemical. If you think you may be suffering serious symptoms due to occupational exposure to formaldehyde, contact us online.

Considering Factors

In addition to psychosocial factors such as bereavement, or dealing with the treatment of mutilated, disfigured, or decomposing corpses, there are a variety of infectious diseases that workers can be exposed to. Funeral service workers should follow occupational safety and health measures to eliminate or at least mitigate the risk of encountering hazards, including:

  • Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with your fingers.
  • Washing hands before eating.
  • Separating work clothes from personal clothing.
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke in designated work locations.

Following these instructions as well as other guidelines can help you steer clear of infectious disease. There is always a risk, however, no matter how small. It is important to keep in mind that you over the course of your employment, you can be exposed to:

  • MRSA Super Bug
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Hepatitis A
  • Tuberculosis
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
  • Meningitis
  • Hepatitis C
  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • Viral hemorrhagic fever
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Even though these factors may seem like the biggest hazards morgue workers face, their main occupational hazards are primarily physical, which can involve the transport of cadavers and floristry. These may include:

  • Falls
  • Falling objects
  • Collisions
  • Cuts
  • Electrocution
  • Traffic accidents[2]

Accidents as a Result of Failing to Follow Safety Procedures

Funeral homes and mortuaries are a destination for when you need to coordinate a wake or a procession for a loved one. It is important that funeral workers follow established guidelines regarding the safe implementation of these services. For example, one funeral home disregarded basic rules and used no law enforcement assistance to direct highway traffic. In addition, the employees carried small “STOP” signs but wore no reflective gear. As a result, a 71-year-old woman was struck by a vehicle, suffering severe injury. She won $515,000 in a settlement with the funeral home. As a funeral worker, it is important that you reduce the risk of injury to yourself and others.

Although the cremation rate in the United States is expected to grow to 72.8% of deaths by 2030, up from 56.1% in 2020, burials will be and still are a significant portion of deaths.[3] Another instance of disregarding basic workplace safety is when a cemetery worker was nearly buried alive. The worker was digging a grave when excavated dirt had caved him in up to his waist. The cemetery had not followed OSHA required support systems for trenching or excavation, such as using restraining devices. The company also used short ladders, and grave slopes were not met to the proper ratio requirements. As a result, the worker was seriously injured and almost suffocated.

Workplace Hazards

Carrying headstones and digging graves is similar towards work in the construction industry, notorious for high injury rates. Accidents happen because of a failure to follow safety rules and guidelines. Although cutting corners can lead to faster results, it also significantly increases the risk of injury, can lead to penalties and fines, and lawsuits. It is almost never worth it to do so because of the consequences. Equipment needs to be checked and maintained to make sure that they meet industry standards, and workers need to be trained on proper safety procedures.

As a funeral professional, you might be a mortician or an undertaker. Embalming and preparing dead bodies for transport and optimal physical appearance is what you may be best at. Thankfully, your work is extremely important for the ability of families to have an appropriate grieving process. Although not expected, workplace violence, sexual harassment, and abuse can plague any workplace, including funeral homes. If you are a victim of any work-related injury relating to occupational abuse, you will want to contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to know your rights.

Call a New Jersey Funeral Home Injury Attorney

Although occupations such as firefighters, police officers, and healthcare are often studied with regards to the impact their work has on quality of life and mental health, the deathcare industry is often overlooked. People in this industry may develop personality changes over time because of their work, such as cynicism, compassion fatigue, as well as dealing with social stereotypes regarding working with human remains.[4] At the Workplace Lawyers, our team of experienced funeral home injury lawyers specializing in workers’ compensation are aware that working in a funeral home can be difficult, and depending on your occupational exposure, can lead to serious injury. If you are experiencing symptoms of a disease or have sustained injury from a physical accident or chemical exposure, contact our firm for a free consultation.

[1] Pardes, A. (2016, September 13). 12 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Funeral Director. Cosmopolitan. Retrieved March 15, 2022, from

[2] wfuneralnews. (2021, September 9). Occupational Health and Safety Manual For Funeral Homes: WFN. wfuneralnews. Retrieved March 15, 2022, from

[3] Statistia. (2022, January 11). Cremation Rate in the United States From 1975 to 2020 With a Forecast for 2025 and 2030. Statista. Retrieved March 15, 2022, from

[4] Guidetti, G., Grandi, A., Converso, D., Bosco, N., Fantinelli, S., Zito, M., & Colombo, L. (2021, July 18). Funeral and Mortuary Operators: The Role of Stigma, Incivility, Work Meaningfulness and Work-Family Relation to Explain Occupational Burnout. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Retrieved March 15, 2022, from is the website for the workers compensation attorneys firm of Livingston, DiMarzio LLP Our team of attorneys is made up of New Jersey Mesothelioma Lawyers, NJ Workers Comp Lawyers, Employment Lawyers and Certified New Jersey Worker’s Compensation Attorneys.