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So you’ve done the Incident Cause Analysis Method (ICAM) Training…. and from the feedback we receive, attendees say it was a great course and they learnt some valuable techniques for incident investigation. During the course, of course you listened intently to the Safety Wise Facilitator. During the Syndicated Exercise, all the theory fit together and you “got it”. You received the initial incident notification, you came up with a data collection plan (PEEPO), you then received more information about the incident, you conducted a witness interview. Then after reviewing all the data you produced a timeline, you identified the contributing factors and placed them in the ICAM Chart and finally by addressing the Organisational Factors and Absent / Failed Defences, you came up with robust recommendations (based on the hierarchy of controls) to meet the objectives of incident investigations - prevention of recurrence and reduction of risk.

Now, how much do you really remember from that course ? By the time you got back to your normal job after a few days away, undoubtedly you had to play catch up and were totally focused on your usual work. While you may have undertaken the assessment and gained a Statement of Attainment, when you look at that certificate and feel very proud to have obtained it (as you should be!) I’m sorry to say that there is a problem. That problem is that no matter what course we attend, when we walk away a lot of the information we learnt starts slipping away. The neural networks that your training inspired are beginning to dissolve, and as a result, most people start forgetting a lot of what was presented.

At the completion of ICAM Training, attendees are enthusiastic and say that they feel confident in applying the skills back at work. But, like the old saying goes “if you don’t use it, you lose it”, however, when we’re talking about a skill to investigate incidents we can’t plan incidents and actually hope they don’t happen. It may be days, weeks or months before you have to utilise the applied skills learnt.

Towards the end of Day #2 of the ICAM Training, undoubtedly your facilitator made some suggestions about how to maximise the learnings and key take-aways. Do you vaguely recall there was mention of flipping through the workbook every few weeks to reinforce learnings? Do you vaguely remember the Facilitator suggesting you look at some old incidents and try to analyse them using the ICAM learnings to keep your skills current? Do you vaguely remember the Facilitator giving another overview of the take-away tools which were designed to make your life easy when you had to use the methodology back at work?

If you can’t recall this, don’t worry… you’re perfectly normal. Our brains do indeed forget things that are no longer perceived as essential. Forgetting is inevitable and it is also adaptive as it clears our memory for other things that are considered more important or relevant at the time. The figures vary, but on average it is said that attendees only recall about 40% of information from a course and as time passes this figure goes up exponentially. Some people may remember more than others, however, most will lose quite a bit of the knowledge.

So, this article is for everyone who has done the Safety Wise ICAM Training and needs a little refresher on the take-aways and tools that you walked away which were designed to make your life easier as someone charged with undertaking incident investigations. I have also included Best Practice Tips for the resources.


The Workbook details the learning outcomes and contains exercises, case studies and self-assessment questionnaires for each module of the course. All the important information from each Module is summarised in the Workbook, so attendees don’t have to sit and take vast amount of notes but can sit back and absorb the information. Questions in the workbook address issues learnt from each module.

The Workbook also contains examples of data collection, data organisation, data analysis and recommendations from one of the course major case studies. While the value of the workbook during the ICAM Training is great, another side benefit of the workbook is being able to use it as a resource to try and retain the skills and knowledge.

BEST PRACTICE TIP - make a note in the calendar that on the 1st Monday of each month, you’ll flick back through the Safety Wise ICAM Attendee Workbook to keep your knowledge current and feel more confident in being able to apply the skills immediately if an incident occurs.


The poster was produced as a use-again tool. The poster is a really useful tool to get back to basics and simplify the whole investigation process.

The front image is a schematic outlining the key process steps of:

1. Data Collection

2. Data Organisation

3. Data Analysis; and

4. Recommendations & Key Learnings.

The inner pages provide guidance to ensure the ICAM process steps are followed. The poster is made of cardboard whiteboard so it can be used, rubbed out and re-used again and again. There is also a soft copy of this poster on the USB in the Investigation ToolKit (the infamous tin…)


The Investigation ToolKit (otherwise known as “The Tin”) is greeted with excitement by most attendees when material is handed out at the beginning of Lead ICAM Training. “What’s in the tin?” “How cool!” and “I’ve waited to get my hand on one of these” are comments we hear time and time again. The tin contains a variety of products designed to help Investigators after the training.

Contents of the Safety Wise Investigation Toolkit include:

The Safety Wise Pocket Investigation Guide

  • Provides step-by-step guidance for the seven phases of the ICAM Investigation process

The Safety Wise Facilitator Guideline

  • Provides prompts, tips and suggestions for the Lead Investigator to facilitate the ICAM Analysis phase effectively and efficiently

The Safety Wise Investigation Toolkit Resource Card (USB)

  • Contains various resources such as forms and templates in relation to incident investigation

Small white two-sided card

  • Quick Checklist for Initial Response following an Incident (to guide and check that immediate actions have been completed)

  • Investigation Go-Kit content suggestions

An overview of the primary resources from the Investigation Toolkit follows with best practice tips to optimise the use and value of each.

The Safety Wise Pocket Investigation Guide

  • This 96-page pocket size guide provides a step-by-step consistent approach to conducting an effective investigation of adverse events using the ICAM process.

  • The Pocket Investigation Guide follows the logical flow of an incident investigation.

- Section 01 - Immediate Actions

- Section 02 - Investigation Planning

- Section 03 - Data Collection

- Section 04 - Data Organisation

- Section 05 - Data Analysis

- Section 06 - Recommendations

- Section 07 - Report

BEST PRACTICE TIP - For your first few ICAM Investigations following the training I would definitely advocate following the steps in a very structured manner as detailed in the Pocket Investigation Guide. ICAM is a process driven approach - follow the key steps of the process and you should end up with a good quality investigation.

The Safety Wise Facilitator Guideline

  • The Facilitator Guideline provides the Lead Investigator with tips and examples to ensure the ICAM Analysis Phase is completed effectively and efficiently.

  • The Guideline walks through Preparation, each of the four ICAM elements and Recommendations.

BEST PRACTICE TIP - Whether it’s your first ICAM Investigation or your 50th, the Facilitator Guideline is a great tool to ensure the ICAM Analysis and Recommendations meet the quality required. Remember 80% of the hard work and time during an investigation has been spent on Data Collection and Data Organisation. The Data Analysis and Recommendation phases should be relatively quick and easy. The Facilitator Guideline streamlines the Data Analysis and Recommendations phases of an investigation and is of particular value in ensuring the preparation has been done well which lays the groundwork for the rest of the analysis process.

The Safety Wise Investigation Toolkit Resource Card (USB)

  • The Resource Card (USB) contains a host of tools which Safety Wise compiled for safety sharing purposes. It contains various resources such as tools, forms and templates in relation to incident investigation and incident management, such as multi-level incident report templates, data collection checklists, further guidance on witness interviewing etc.

  • There are also some completed ICAM Reports on the Resource Card as well as an Executive Brief Powerpoint example.

BEST PRACTICE TIP - Sounds obvious… but have a look at what’s on the card after you’ve done the ICAM Training. There may be things on it that could help at your work sites. A really useful practice I recommend is printing out the Investigation Flowchart in A1 or A2 size and putting it up on the wall so you know exactly where you’re at with each investigation phase. Have a look at the ICAM Reports on the USB to see how everything ties in from the incident description through to the analysis and recommendations (and look at the style of writing used in these reports).


  • Towards the end of the Lead Investigator Training, your Facilitator would have also briefed you on MICAM, which is the latest tool in the incident investigator’s toolkit.

  • MICAM is available exclusively to attendees of our ICAM Lead Investigator course. It is not a training tool or module, but is an applet that can be downloaded to a device to assist and guide you through the ICAM Investigation process. The one thing we all tend to have on us all the time are our smart phones, so if your Go-Kit is back at the office and you receive a call about an investigation, after you download the MICAM Applet, you’ll have a resource which is accessible immediately to guide you through the Investigation phases.

  • MICAM works on any device (IOS, Android, etc) and one of the best things is after you download and launch MICAM the first time you will be able to access it anywhere in the world, regardless of an internet connection.

  • You should have received instructions after the Lead ICAM Training on how to access and download MICAM.

- To download the applet to your device:

- - Visit our Login page and select 'Training Login'.

- - Log into Clui using your email address and password.

- - Click on MICAM and it will download to your device.

BEST PRACTICE TIP – Another obvious tip… take advantage of this free resource and make sure you download the MICAM applet. Become familiar with it so in the event of an incident occurring, you’ll know exactly where to start and how to navigate through the resource.

Hopefully this article jogged your memory about the tools and take-away resources available to you following the ICAM Training (and assured you that forgetting is perfectly normal…). Your Facilitator would have also provided contact details if you had any queries. Don’t hesitate to call or email for clarification or guidance - we’re always happy to help out.

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


Jo De Landre

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