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Accident investigation guidance

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​This guidance is for people involved in accident investigations within your own company, or on behalf of another company. Its 3 parts are aimed at different people, roles, and activities within the end-to-end process.

Note that these are not RAIB guidance document neither are they aimed at RAIB investigations.

Part 1: The role of the senior manager

​The guidance covers the key aspects of investigation, but also other important related issues of accident management.  The guidance:
  • Makes the case for the need for and benefits of good accident investigation
  • Emphasises the important role senior managers play in achieving this
  • Describes good accident investigation

This document is the first of three guidance documents which aim to assist organisations in achieving a consistently high level of accident investigation. The guidance was originally issued in March 2011 and has now been updated.

In support of this updated guidance is a new digital training programme for use by trainers in a classroom environment or for individual use. Use of this programme across the industry should assist in raising the standard of accident investigation.

A new section (4.2) on proportionality has been introduced which should greatly assist in the early decision making on the scale of an investigation. In addition, references to legislation, linked documents and systems and industry safety initiatives have also been brought up to date.

Part 2: Development of policy and management arrangements

Aimed at safety and accident managers with related roles other than investigating, including:

  • Writing policies
  • Ensuring necessary resources and competences available
  • Selecting the level of investigation based on proportionality
  • Appointing investigators and write remits
  • Implementing and tracking recommendations
  • Learning the lessons​

This document aims to provide user friendly guidance to help organisations develop and apply effective policies on conducting good investigations and learn lessons from these investigations.

Part 3: Practical guidance

​The key elements of an investigation are contained in this part of the guidance, including: remit, evidence gathering, interviewing techniques, analysis of immediate and underlying causes and recommendations.  The guidance:

  • Provides user friendly guidance & examples of good practice to support the investigation process
  • Includes many useful checklists

Contains significant content on:

  • Human factors issues relating to investigations
  • Interviewing techniques
  • Finding underlying causes
  • Good recommendations​


Supplement – Taking a risk based approach to investigations

A simple referencing guide to assist in establishing the initial level of investigation by use of a risk based approach using the Proportionate Response Model.  This is an extract from Part 2 of the guidance





Updated guidance and the Accident Investigation Training (AIT) Programme

The above guidance is an update on the version published in 2011 and incorporates a useful tool on proportionality, detailed in the supplement above.

The guidance is now supported by a free training programme which is available on a memory card or via the internet.  Email for a password and internet access to the AIT Programme.

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