Chapter 12.6.2: Guide to Investigations

Chapter 12.6.2: Guide to Investigations


This guide provides generalist occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals with advice and checklists for fundamental aspects of the incident investigation process – investigation preparation and management, incident scene actions, evidence collection, interviewing witnesses, analysis of evidence, report preparation and post-investigation review. It is designed to be used in conjunction with the OHS Body of Knowledge chapter 12.6.1 Investigations, which addresses the conceptual knowledge underpinning effective investigation of workplace incidents that threaten health and safety. This guide is presented in MS Word format to facilitate development of tools and checklists to suit industry, organisational and contextual requirements.


investigation, incident, accident, event, safety, evidence, analysis, witnesses, methods, models

Current Version: May 2024

Chapter 12.6.2: Guide to Investigations

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Investigation preparation
2.1 Pre-event preparedness
2.2 Initial collection of information
2.3 Response planning
2.4 Scoping the investigation
2.5 Preliminary risk assessment
2.6 Investigation team
2.7 Equipment
2.8 Planning for evidence collection
2.9 Logistics
2.10 Agency liaison
2.11 Victims, workers, family members and others involved
3 Investigation management
3.1 Meetings
3.2 Record keeping
3.3 Progress tracking
3.4 Media
4 Incident scene
4.1 Statutory body liaison
4.2 Working to a plan
4.3 Maintaining the scene
4.4 Mapping the scene
5 Evidence
5.1 Preservation of evidence
5.2 Collection of evidence
5.3 Continuity
5.4 Scene photography
6 Witnesses
6.1 Identifying and managing witnesses
6.2 Interviewing witnesses
6.3 Subject matter experts
7 Analysis
7.1 Lines of enquiry and logic-based analysis
7.2 Specialist expertise
7.3 Technological representations and re-enactments
8 Conclusions, recommendations and reporting
8.1 Conclusions
8.2 Recommendations
8.3 Investigation report
9 Post-investigation review
9.1 Implementation of recommendations
9.2 Investigation process
10 Investigation of minor incidents

Chapter 12.6.2: Guide to Investigations



Geoff is a career safety scientist with 44 years of incident investigation experience across a wide range of
industries, including manufacturing, construction, mining, power generation, aviation, rail, road and maritime.
Having worked in aviation as senior safety manager at TAA/Australian Airlines/Qantas, he is a professional-grade
member of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators. In his time as Associate Professor at CQUniversity,
he co-developed and led the unique Bachelor of Accident Forensics and Graduate Diploma in Accident
Investigation programs. Geoff recently completed a three-year tenure as a Professor at the Technical University of
Ostrava Faculty of Safety Engineering and is presently Head of Aviation Safety for the biennial Avalon International
Airshow and a freelance incident investigator.

Dr Yvonne Toft DProf, MHlthSc, GDOHS, GCFlexLearn, MISASI
Professor, Faculty of Safety Engineering, VSB – Technical University of Ostrava, Czech Republic

Building on health and safety roles in mining and health, Yvonne has led research and teaching teams in areas
related to human factors engineering, OHS, accident forensics and investigation, operational systems safety, and
technology in public safety, industrial and transport related contexts for nearly 30 years. At CQUniversity, Yvonne
created and led the undergraduate and postgraduate OHS programs and co-created world-first innovative accident
forensics and investigation programs that featured the southern hemisphere’s first purpose-built crash lab for
accident investigation training and education.

Dr Ivan Cikara PhD, MOSH, MBA, AdvDipPublicSafety(Investigations)

Ivan has an extensive background in investigations spanning policing, where he specialised in investigations of
fatal crashes as a member of the Homicide Squad, and as a specialist investigator for the Public Transport
Authority. He has held executive positions in Federal Government and in general management, and group safety
roles in the transport, mining, and oil and gas sectors. Ivan completed his PhD in systemic investigations of heavy
vehicle crashes and has a number of peer-reviewed publications.

David Skegg MSSc, GD(OHM), GCGCTE, COHSProf, JP

David has extensive experience in OHS and incident investigation within organisations as a consultant and a
teaching scholar and educator across industrial short courses, and undergraduate and postgraduate courses, at
CQUniversity, Swinburn University, Monash University, and the Chinese University of Mining and Technology,

Shevaun Dell BA, BSc, GDPsych, MCrim, MForSc

Shevaun is an academic, researcher and consultant with more than 15 years of experience working in incident
investigation teams in various industries, including construction, oil and gas, power generation and heavy industry.
She has taught into tertiary education programs in the areas of accident forensics, safety science and psychology,
and consulted on policy initiatives, safety systems development and major events public safety.