My friend at work was killed by one of the machines and it was awful.

The place has been closed so there's no work. We don't know when the factory is going to reopen or if they're closing down forever. If they open again, I don't know if I want to go back. I threw up thinking about going back, and I don't think it's safe.

I need money so I'm trying to explore options for what else I can do.

I signed up for some classes through work but now I don't know if I want to do it. I would have to pay the company back if I took the classes and I left, but my church will help pay the company back if I decide to leave.

Another option I've found is that the state would help me pay if I wanted to get more classes, but I would rather not go back to work there.

I know that I can go through vocational rehab to get another job.

Are there other options that I can try to help find new work?

  • 4
    Can you elaborate on your location? Having to pay back the company is quite foreign to me, so that may affect the answers.
    – Jeffrey
    Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 18:34
  • 1
    What is your location? Why would you feel you would be trapped working for your company?
    – sf02
    Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 18:43
  • 12
    Are you getting professional help? Usually there's some level of professional counseling if you witness something like this and your counselor can probably help you as well.
    – Erik
    Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 18:59
  • 1
    What career field are you in? Your ability to find new work is going to be somewhat dependent on that.
    – Ben Barden
    Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 20:06
  • Is this a company town or something with zero alternate opportunity? Do you just really, really, really hate the job hunt? (Lots of people feel that way). If we presume you will never return, would that make your course of action clearer? Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 14:52

4 Answers 4


I'd say don't go back unless you are confident the company resolved the issue and no such risks remain. Unless it was an unpredictable accident. But your tone makes it likely your workplace was just dangerous.

Address your priority in order. Staying alive should be one of the main goals.


  • Not only does the OPs tone imply this was a dangerous page, their question history paints a tragic tale with this inevitable outcome :(
    – Dancrumb
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 23:40

The fact that it was your friend that was killed makes a huge difference to the way you are experiencing the accident. If possible, try to get some counseling to help you process the loss of your friend.

Unfortunately if/when your workplace starts up again, you will experience your surroundings in a whole different way and it's not surprising you don't want to work there anymore.

Does your company have any other locations where you could work? If so ask for a transfer. If not, alternative employment is your only option.

Depending on what your specific industry/job is, it might be very easy to find another suitable job, but it might also be very hard. Best way is to brush up your resume and apply to any new job that you think you might be suited for.

  • 11
    Getting grief counseling is not a sign of weakness or shame. If your company isn't helping with that ask your church's minister for a referral and follow up. The term -- "grief counselor" -- sounds mechanical and clinical, but these people can really help. Seriously.
    – O. Jones
    Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 11:01

Had similar incidents at one of my previous companies. We averaged a couple per year - large company, heavy manufacturing (industrial/defense), so there were fires, explosions, spills, a fall into a galvanic vat, hits with steel assemblies, asphyxiation in tight quarters, heat stroke in the same. There was usually a public announcement and a minute of silence the next day. One of my close colleagues nearly had it, but pulled through and returned in two months.

It's surprising to me that the whole factory and not just the workshop would close over an accident - is it a fairly small company? Even so, it's unlikely to stay closed forever. Accidents happen, and since it's a factory, not an office, they're a known danger, which can be minimized, but is hard to eliminate.

As this is a forced furlough, not a voluntary leave, most laws would obligate the company to still pay you for the time based on the agreed-upon work week.

The emotional impact is a very different problem, though. I know people who have quit their entire profession after witnessing a death first-hand right next to them, or took part in unsuccessful first response. You don't want to linger against your will at a place that reminds you of it, it can be outright dangerous for your mental health.

So if you feel strongly that way, it's best to at least change the division within the company, look for something a bit different to do. But to get more advice on that (what job to transition into), more details about what you do would be in order, or an entirely different question.

  • 24
    A couple a year? Even for a large company, that's....... Jesus.
    – Stilez
    Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 4:08
  • Man, elsewhere that place would probably have been closed for good by the police. Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 8:53
  • 3
    @Stilez These rates are not out of line with industry averages. In the UK, reported injury rates for "dangerous" industries like construction are of the order of one per 1,000 employees per year. If a "large company" means 50,000 employees, that's one reported injury per week (and "reported" doesn't mean trivia like "somebody scratched their finger and needed a sticking plaster form the first aid box"). In fact the water supply industry is even worse than general construction - one per 300 employees per year.
    – alephzero
    Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 10:31
  • 4
    @JoeStrazzere The typical rate for most comparable industries is 20-30 per 100,000 workers per year (US). That's 1 per 4,000 workers, annually, so our rate was better than average. I'm surprised that you're surprised.
    – Therac
    Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 11:45
  • 2
    And this is coming from a user named Therac... How ironic.
    – oldmud0
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 0:01

You are thrown back into the job pool, unexpectedly. The answer is similar to what you would do if fired:

  • Revisit your resume. You may want to make several resumes for various kinds of work. Your local government job agency often has workshops on resume writing. Do the workshop, and get your resume into the form that is currently in vogue.

  • Register for unemployment. Sometimes you need termination papers from your current employer first. Sometimes you can get the process started.

  • Check out public retraining programs.

  • Register with various temp agencies. This usually is terrible pay, but it allows you to network looking for a job. Keep cards with your contact info, and a mini-statement of what you are looking for. Ask your temp workers if they are looking for something permanent, and if so what, and write their info into your phone. Depending on your UI rules you may be able to get extended benefits at a reduced rate while working temp agencies.

BTW: The card works best if you get them to photograph the card with their phone. That is better than have the card drift to the bottom of the heap under the McDonalds wrappers in the passenger foot well.

  • Pick one or two relevant job boards in your area. Some are better than others. Many of them scrape each others sites, so you see the same job eleventeen times. Many will email you jobs that correspond to search terms..

  • Register with relevant job boards in your area. Put your resume on them. While job boards steal jobs from eachother all the time, recruiters tend to use only one or two. So you want your resume to be out there in multiple places.

  • Lots of industrial jobs in my area do not use job boards, but depend on walk in applicants. This is particularly true for unskilled and semi-skilled jobs that use some muscle. Have your resume in hand, and go in to ask them dressed like you are going to work. jeans, shirt, safety boots, gloves, jacket for the weather.

You need to decide if you want a new job or a new career. A new job is easier, and will likely pay better in the short run than a new career. The latter will require training, or some level of apprenticeship. The two don't have to be exclusive. Getting a similar job in a different company may be a short term solution, while researching new careers. Again, government offices may have tools that will help you find a new career, and point you to training resources.

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