Getting Incident Investigations Right | AIChE

You are here

Getting Incident Investigations Right


An incident unfortunately cannot be undone, but a properly executed safety investigation can prevent similar incidents.

Investigations can make for good storytelling. An incident occurs, surrounded by mystery, and an investigator must solve the mystery. In a criminal investigation, solving the mystery involves determining whether a crime was committed and, if so, who should be held responsible. In regulatory investigations, solving the mystery involves determining whether the organization was in compliance with regulations and, if not, what citations and fines should be issued. In civil or insurance investigations, solving the mystery involves determining whether there is contractual or tort liability. By their very nature, these investigations look backward and focus on whom to blame for an incident.

Safety investigations are different. They look at incidents that have happened, not to find clues about whom to blame, but to find clues about what to fix. Unlike other types of investigations, safety investigations look forward to determine how best to prevent a reoccurrence of the incident.

This article highlights the importance of safety investigations in the chemical process industries (CPI) and outlines the necessary steps to properly execute an investigation and avoid similar incidents.


Would you like to access the complete CEP Article?

No problem. You just have to complete the following steps.

You have completed 0 of 2 steps.

  1. Log in

    You must be logged in to view this content. Log in now.

  2. AIChE Membership

    You must be an AIChE member to view this article. Join now.

Author Bios 

Copyright Permissions 

Would you like to reuse content from CEP Magazine? It’s easy to request permission to reuse content. Simply click here to connect instantly to licensing services, where you can choose from a list of options regarding how you would like to reuse the desired content and complete the transaction.


Automatic layout