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Fundamentals of Accident Investigation

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Cranfield University
School of Engineering
Contact Provider
3 week course
Short Course
The course is designed for those who may have to conduct, or participate in, transport accident investigation.
Cranfield University, College Road, Cranfield, MK43 0AL, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom

Course overview

Fundamentals of Investigation is a 3-week course offered by the Cranfield Safety and Accident Investigation Centre in close collaboration with the accident investigation community and with the endorsement of the Centre’s Industry Advisory Board.

Course description

 On successful completion of this course the delegate will be able to:

  • Describe the accident investigation process for a transport accident including elements of preparation, emergency response, evidence collection and analysis, report-writing and recommendations
  • work safely under supervision at an accident site
  • conduct witness interviews and collect material evidence from a variety of relevant sources
  • conduct an analysis of evidence to develop a no-blame report of what occurred and recommendations for future prevention
  • critically assess strategies for working alongside interested parties including the emergency services, legal services, pathologist, scientific support, news media, families and regulator.

The course brings together the considerable expertise and experience of investigators, operators and researchers to deliver a level of training that is second to none. The close relationship that has existed with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) since the first course ran in 1977 has now been enhanced by collaboration with the Marine Accident Investigation (MAIB) and Rail Accident Investigation Branches (RAIB). The course draws upon the best experiences from air, marine and rail transport to give a balanced view of the accident investigation process.

Who should attend

The course is designed for those who may have to conduct, or participate in, transport accident investigation. This may be in the role of official investigator for a state or as a representative of a manufacturer, operator, insurer or service provider. Previous attendees have come from the railway, marine, aviation and road transport areas including both military and civilian operations.

All lectures and workshops will be in English and due to the intensity of the course those without a thorough knowledge of English would be at a severe disadvantage. There are no formal qualifications for entry, but course numbers are limited and preference will be given to applicants best able to benefit fully from the course.

Content summary

The course timetable includes lectures, workshops, case studies, simulations and site visits and includes the following elements:

  • Appraisal of the accident site
  • disaster response
  • health and safety at the accident site
  • recovery of wreckage
  • collection of evidence
  • interviewing techniques
  • structures and crashworthiness
  • physiology, psychology and ergonomics
  • passenger behaviour / survivability
  • media management
  • accident pathology
  • court procedures for investigators
  • data recorders and their analysis
  • analytical techniques
  • systemic approach to investigation
  • managing investigations
  • liaising with victims and their families
  • relations with the regulator / interested parties
  • developing and managing recommendations
  • report writing
  • follow-up actions
  • the future of investigation

The course also includes a major investigation simulation which includes a site phase, interviewing, analysis and presentation of recommendations to an expert review panel.

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