This discussion paper aims to assist organisations in incident investigations by outlining why investigating incidents is important, and what the best practices are for incident investigations. It also focuses on practical applications, including real-world case studies and on-the-ground policies being used by industry, which are equally applicable across all fleets, from passenger vehicles to small vans and freight and heavy vehicle operators.
The 2016 calendar year resulted in 1,300 fatalities on Australian roads. Some of these fatalities occur during workplace related incidents with the long term average showing that 39% of worker fatalities occur due to vehicle collisions.
Investigating incidents isn’t just about ensuring the safety of your employees, it is about ensuring the safety of everyone on the road. Over 100 people are killed or injured in crashes every week involving someone who was potentially driving or riding for work; this includes passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists that are civilians.
Each incident has negative outcomes, ranging from loss of life to something less consequential but still significant including the costs to society, the economy, and the implications for commercial operators.
Each incident, however, provides huge learning potential and an opportunity to gain reliable information and data to prevent a repeat. This is where incident investigation can play a critical role.
- The wellbeing of anybody involved in an incident is the first consideration.
- Incidents deserve to be investigated. Findings can drive improvements for all organisations who operate a fleet, regardless of vehicle type
- The more detailed and thorough the evidence collection the more thorough subsequent investigation and reconstruction.
- Evidence from the scene at the time of the event is ‘gold’
- Investigations can help us work towards preventing similar incidents occurring again, particularly where clusters of incidents are identified at the same location or from the same cause
- The aim is to investigate and mitigate risks, not incriminate