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The Benefits of the ICAM Incident Investigation Process

ICAM is the Incident Cause Analysis Method, an industrial safety initiative that draws on the work of the eminent organisational psychologist and human error expert Professor James Reason. The ICAM methodology was developed by Safety Wise's CEO, Gerry Gibb, with the assistance of Professor Reason, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and in consultation with safety representatives from industry.

ICAM breaks new ground in the area of incident investigation which, in the past, has tended to focus on intentional or unintentional acts of human error – those things that people did or didn’t do – that led to an incident or accident (the “person model”). While this approach provides a superficial explanation of the incident, it does not consider the underlying factors that contributed to the actions, or the context in which they occurred. Considering only the transparent ‘active’ failures and unsafe acts, rather than identifying those potential causes or ‘latent conditions’ lying dormant within the system, limits the potential of an investigation to prevent the same event from recurring.

ICAM is a holistic systemic safety investigation analysis method. It aims to identify both local factors and failures within the broader organisation and productive system that contributed to the incident, such as communication, training, operating procedures, incompatible goals, change management, organisational culture and equipment. Through the analysis of this information, ICAM provides the ability to identify what really went wrong and to make recommendations on necessary remedial actions to reduce risk and build error-tolerant defences against future incidents. The ICAM process incorporates best practice Human Factors and Risk Management principles.

To date, ICAM has been used in the investigation of incidents and accidents in the aviation, rail, road, mining, and petroleum sectors. Its successful use in a number of different countries (including Australia, Canada, USA, Chile, Indonesia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, South Africa), work domains and cultural settings indicates that it migrates readily as an investigation tool to a range of national and industrial contexts.


Safety Wise offers a 2 day ICAM Lead Investigator Course covering:

  • An introduction to systemic investigations

  • An introduction to understanding human error in the context of organisational systems.

  • Data gathering methods including witness interviewing

  • Data organisation methodologies (timeline and 5 whys processes)

  • Data analysis using the ICAM model

  • Development of corrective and preventative measures

  • Practical application of incident investigation tools in case studies


The classroom based ICAM Lead Investigator training program:

  • is of the highest quality, industry relevant, interactive and engaging.

  • incorporates the highest quality video and 3D animation available.

  • simulates the investigation process as closely as possible given the constraints of a training venue

  • incorporates practical exercises to embed knowledge and skill

  • selects from a library of 60 industry relevant incident case studies from the aviation, rail, transport, power, mining, construction, maritime and ports sectors.

  • ensures the course attendees have an opportunity to use multiple investigation tools in their case study exercises

  • will be bundled with the ICAM Lead Investigator Refresher e-Learning Module.

  • every attendee will now receive the 2 day classroom based Lead Investigator Course and have the ability to utilise the refresher e-Learning course 24/7 for 12 months.


All course participants will receive the ICAM Investigator Toolkit (pictured below) to support their ICAM Investigations. This includes:

  • Pocket Investigation Guidebook

  • ICAM Facilitator Guideline

  • ICAM Investigation Poster

  • e-card providing access to online resources including refresher training


Course Attendance Certificates will be issued on course completion and included in the course cost is the option of sitting an assessment to gain a Statement of Attainment for the following Australian qualification:

  • RIIWHS301D - Resource & Construction

  • BSBWHS505 - Business Mgt.

  • PMAOHS310B - Petrochemical

  • TLIF5017 - Rail

Interested in Knowing More?

Further information on Safety Wise’s Incident Cause Analysis (ICAM) Training is available from our website:

Additional ICAM Related Services

Safety Wise also offers the following additional services for sites that adopt the ICAM investigation analysis method:

  • Quality review of incident investigations using ICAM

  • Trend analysis of organisational factors contributing to serious incidents

  • Participation in investigations as an external / independent party


ABOUT THE AUTHOR- Luke Dam (Chief Operations Officer)

Luke has worked in various industries over the years including pharmaceutical, retail, manufacturing, and transport including iconic brands like WesFarmers, Goodyear, CSL Limited, and Incitec Pivot Limited.

His work in OHS and learning and development has seen him deliver services to clients, both internal and external as well as managing service delivery teams around the world.

Luke holds a Graduate Certificate of Management (Learning) as well as a Diploma of Occupational Health and Safety, a Diploma of Training and Assessment Systems, a Certificate IV Workplace Training and Assessment, a Certificate III in Mine Emergency Response & Rescue and a Certificate II in Public Safety (SES Rescue).

Luke is extensively involved in a project to establish an association dedicated to confined space safety and to drive change in legislation to promote best-practice in this high-risk area. Luke is passionate about online OHS and incident investigation communities, moderating a number of large LinkedIn groups boasting over 11,000 members globally.

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