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Evaluating the effectiveness of an investigation board for workplace accidents

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This paper examines the activities of the Swedish Work Environment Authority's Accident Investigation Board. It first gives an outline of the board's role and a summary of the previous literature on accident investigation. It then proposes an investigation methodology, the CHAIN model, which forms the theoretical point of departure of the paper. It describes the methods used in the empirical study, and examines the board's investigation criteria and how these were implemented. A summary of the effects of the board's reports on affected companies is presented, along with a survey of SWEA inspectors and interviews with workplace inspectors and others who have an interest in workplace accident investigation. Finally, the study's results are compared to the CHAIN model, with the conclusions that:

• the board has been successful in establishing a high qualitative standard for investigating workplace accidents

• the investigation process should be speeded up if the board's reports are to realise their full potential

• dissemination of the reports must be improved, and a follow-up system is needed.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Policy and Practice in Health and Safety is an international journal published twice a year. It's designed as a forum for academic and policy discourse on health and safety and is aimed at those who practise, tutor, research or study health and safety regulation and management. All published papers have undergone a double-blind refereeing process by at least two referees.

    Policy and Practice is an important source of reference for anyone studying or working at a professional level in health and safety. It'll help to keep you up to speed on developing debates on a wide range of topics.

    The editor, David Walters, Professor of Work Environment at the Cardiff Work Environment Research Centre, leads Policy and Practice's authoritative international editorial board. The journal addresses practical workplace health and safety issues as well as focusing on a broader context - the social, economic and political discussions that shape employment and work.

    Subjects covered in recent issues include comparisons of different regulatory and management frameworks, case studies of occupational safety and health in individual locations, and the impact of economic and political factors on health and safety.
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