The Positive Evolution of Analyzing Incidents

Incident Analysis

The age-old accident investigation, now almost universally known as an incident analysis or review, is one of an organization’s primary safety learning tools. But the potential to learn from near-misses, damage to plant property, minor injuries, serious injuries and fatalities is not always realized.

Incidents carry the baggage in many organizations as representing failure. And human nature does not like to dwell on failure. There are exceptions. Large-scale tragedies that rock a workforce and national catastrophes such as the Deepwater Horizon explosion or the space shuttle disasters demand answers.

Almost no incident analysis runs seven volumes, with volume one alone taking 248 pages, as was the case with the Columbia findings. Many analyses, especially of near-misses and minor injury cases, are often given a short-shrift due to lack of time and resources. Serous injuries and fatalities are often more thoroughly probed and assessed. The price paid is too high. The causes must be discovered and corrected to ensure that price is never paid again.

Obtaining reliable conclusions that can be acted upon to reduce risks and improve safety performance can face hurdles that will be examined in this white paper. Not seeing hazards that should have been uncovered, biased thinking that skews perspectives, a lack of critical questioning and thinking, and poor descriptions and communication of causes and potential solutions are some of the barriers.

In the past 5-10 years new theories and practices, such as applying Visual Literacy to achieve closer, more detailed observations and interpretations without bias or a rush to judge, have removed the cloud of gloom and failure over incidents. Organizational-wide learning is now a reality due to data analytics, improved surveillance and sensors, and new methodologies to capture visible evidence and hidden causes.

Our latest white paper “The New View of Analyzing Incidents” will discuss the positive evolution of analyzing incidents producing widely disseminated lessons learned, more hazards identified and abated, and improved safety and health performance.

Incident Review white paper

Gain valuable insights into COVE’s Visual Literacy approach by downloading our exclusive white paper “The New View Of Analyzing Incidents.”

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson has been a magazine chief editor, writer, reporter, researcher, analyst, and public speaker in the safety industry for over 40 years. He co-wrote a book on patient safety in healthcare, interviewing physicians, nurses and patient safety advocates; as well as edited books on organizational psychology, behavioral psychology, safety for supervisors, and humanistic behaviorism. Dave is now principal of Dave Johnson’s Writing Shop and develops thought leadership pieces on behalf of COVE.


Subscribe here!

Get COVE’s blog posts delivered straight to your inbox.

More Blog Post

Delivering Visual Literacy Capabilities in Australia and New Zealand

Technology and Personal Competencies – It’s an “AND” conversation

Behind the Scenes: What Attending a COVE Workshop is All About