48 Hours: The Life of an Investigator


Introduction

Unlike the TV series 24, starring Kiefer Sutherland, the life of an investigator isn’t as glamorous or as action packed however can be just as satisfying and with far reaching and positive outcomes for everyone involved.

The Safety Wise team of Investigators have provided investigation and training services across 43 countries in the last 10 years and investigated over 400 incidents including near misses, high potentials (HiPo’s) and incidents involving fatalities.

Whilst it obviously varies dependent on the nature and location of the incident, a typical 48 hour period for a Safety Wise investigator can be quite busy.

Case Study

One of our clients in the construction industry had an incident resulting in an injury to a contractor.

They called Safety Wise at 1100 AM on the day of the incident requesting assistance.

That afternoon a Safety Wise investigator mobilised to the site interstate and by 4PM, the investigator was being briefed by site management on the incident.

Before sundown the investigator and the investigation support team carried out a site inspection and photographed the incident scene.

The next day, the Safety Wise investigator worked with the client, the contractor and the site Safety Officer to gather information, conduct interviews, examine the equipment and review procedures using the PEEPO tool to determine what had happened.

On the afternoon of day 2, the Safety Wise investigator worked with the site team to facilitate the ICAM analysis to establish why the incident occurred and then developed recommendations to prevent similar incidents.

Prior to leaving site, the Safety Wise investigator presented the findings of the investigation in a PowerPoint presentation to the stakeholders before flying home that evening.

The client was astonished at the rigour of the investigation despite the short timeframe and the professional attitude of the Safety Wise investigation. It was a good, cost effective outcome for a client in need.

Is There a Typical Investigation?

No, not really. Every incident is different, as is the location and the process required to mobilise to the site.

Similarly, we can’t predict timeframes for completion accurately as there are many factors that can impact the investigation process including:

  • Access to site

  • Police and regulator constraints

  • Availability of key stakeholders such as witnesses and persons involved

  • Shift work and staff availability

  • Depending on the incident location, there may be cultural and religious issues that come into play, such as the mourning process

If you’re going to be utilising an external investigator, it’s worthwhile taking the time during the engagement process to discuss and clarify and potential issues, specific requests and other factors. This will ensure a timely and smooth process once on site.

Attributes of an Effective Investigator

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Interested in Knowing More?

Further information on Safety Wise’s Incident Cause Analysis (ICAM) Training is available from our website: http://www.safetywise.com/

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- Gerry Gibb (CEO)

Considered the ‘founding father’ of the ICAM method, our CEO, Gerry Gibb, has worked with some of the world’s leading organisations across multiple industries including mining, oil and gas, rail, aviation, sporting, health, government, and manufacturing.

Gerry’s passion for incident investigation, risk management and effective education strategies started off as an engineer in the Aviation Industry. During his time at BHP Billiton, he identified the opportunity to develop a standard approach to workplace incident investigations that could be applied globally and across any industry.

Gerry worked with the Global HSE team and relevant experts to understand and shape what an industry-leading process could look like. The result was the ICAM methodology, which is now considered the benchmark for incident investigations globally across multiple industries.

Under his guidance, Safety Wise continues to innovate and evolve ICAM to incorporate modern approaches, and add new tools to give investigators an edge.

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