Conduct an Effective Incident Investigation

Information that can reveal the root cause of an incident resides in many places - within the plant or process unit, and in control rooms, offices and witnesses’ minds. Here’s how to find the data and conduct effective witness interviews.

Readers who were listening to the radio or watching television on the morning of February 1, 2003, will remember the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia over Texas. Within an hour of losing contact with the Columbia, NASA’s Mission Control declared a “contingency” to ensure that all mission data were preserved. All flight controllers had to verify that their logs were up-to-date and institute a hands-off policy with regard to switches, push-buttons, controllers, knobs and the like; all computer data were impounded. This was the start of NASA’s investigation procedure.

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