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Investigation methodology: Man - technology - organization

Following a comission from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA), SINTEF Technology and Society has carried out the project " Investigation methodology: Man - technology - organization." The objective has been to map out relevant communities of expertise in the fields of accident investigation, and status with regard to the use and further development of investigation methodology.

This mapping shall constitute the groundwork for assessing the current status and the PSA's choice of strategies for future investigations in our field of responsibility.

Existing research networks/partners have been used as door openers to relevant professional communities, and the mapping has been carried out with a preference for direct queries using e-mail and telephone.

In addition, we have carried out Internet searches.

The mapping concentrates on communities in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe (the Netherlands, Germany, England, Scotland), and covers both universities and institutions of research and higher education as consulting and advising companies, accident investigation boards and supervisory bodies.

The principal focus has been directed at methods that are related to "human factors" and MTO - thinking barriers.

Practical experience from investigations in different industries, such as aviation, the nuclear power industry and the oil industry has been emphasized, as has whether the communities of expertise have participated actively in developing methodology and have, or can, develop training courses within the field.

A general conclusion from the mapping is that the individual communities of expertise utilise several methodologies, but usually have one main methodology which is used in most cases.

The most important are MTO analysis, TRIPOD, SOL ("Safety through Organizational Learning") and MORT/ SMORT.

These are discussed in greater detail in chapter 3 of the report. In addition, some communities use methodologies for detailed analysis of technical systems or human behaviour.

Link to excerpts from the report (English, about MTO, TRIPOD, SOL, MORT)

Link to the report in its entirety (Norwegian)

Contact in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway
Marit Brattbakk