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Challenge Your Thinking

This week, I've been talking about quality reviews of investigation reports and related activities.

Despite our vast experience as investigators, we still put every single report, regardless of complexity, through a QA review.

We do this for a number of reasons, including-

  • checking spelling, formatting, punctuation and similar

  • checking readability

  • checking that we've addressed all of the identified organisational factors and absent/failed defences

And most importantly, to challenge the recommended actions the investigator has put in place. We challenge them to ensure that what has been recommended is relevant, realistic, and will be effective in preventing recurrence.

It's not uncommon in a complex investigation, that an investigator can find themselves off track a bit or perhaps a bit overloaded with information to process. Likewise, with large-scale, protracted investigations- the time to progress an investigation, especially when managing other work, can muddy the waters.

The QA review gives someone independent of the investigation a chance to run their eyes over the report and offer fresh insight and perspective.

Also, remember that these reviews can be done at various stages of the investigation. Independent insight may assist with timelines, ICAM analysis, and the development of recommendations, not just at the end before submitting a report to management.

A review is also a great way to help embed the process for newly trained investigators- there's no doubt that the first few you do can and will be a bit daunting- get the coaching they need to build their capacity.

Reviews should not be seen as tick and flick exercises or traffic lights. They need to be built around conversations that probe and challenge. Do you have a process for reviewing your investigations?

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

  • Participation in investigations as an external/independent party

  • Investigation coaching


ABOUT THE AUTHOR- Luke Dam (Chief Executive 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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