Conduct safety and health investigations

This unit covers conducting safety and health investigations in resources and infrastructure industries. It includes determining the investigation objectives; gathering information; evaluating information; identifying courses of action; and preparing and presenting investigation reports.


This unit is appropriate for those working in operational roles or on safety committees, at worksites within:

Civil construction

Coal mining


Extractive industries

Metalliferous mining


Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Determine the investigation objectives

1.1. Access, interpret and apply compliance documentation relevant to conducting safety and health investigations

1.2. Determine the scope of the investigation to ensure pre- and post-incident timeframe is considered consistent with legislative requirements and site standard

1.3. Determine the proposed investigation objectives from an analysis of the available information and factors

1.4. Test the proposed objectives and clarify the scope of the investigation

1.5. Ensure the final objectives and scope of the investigation will be achievable within available resources and authority constraints

2. Gather information

2.1. Maintain site security and integrity of evidence in accordance with legislative and site requirements

2.2. Plan and prepare for the systematic collection of information

2.3. Schedule information collection and completion to ensure minimum backtracking or repeat actions

2.4. Ensure methods used to collect and examine information, including interviewing and recording, meet standards and legislative requirements

2.5. Collect, test and organise all information appropriate to the investigation according to legislative and/or industry standards

3. Evaluate information

3.1. Assess and evaluate information for its validity and reliability and organise as evidence to aid decision making

3.2. Undertake further research where information is unclear or inadequate, and correct the discrepancy/ deficiency

3.3. Analyse the evidence to determine the causes of the incident

3.4. Draw conclusion from the relevant evidence based on reasoned argument and balance of probability or other agreed standard

3.5. Ensure the findings address the factual objectives established for the investigation

4. Identify courses of action

4.1. Frame options for the courses of action to address or respond to the findings of the investigation

4.2. Ensure options are provided in a form which meets the audience, requirements, can be easily understood and enables the selection of the most appropriate course of action

4.3. Ensure the course of action selected will resolve the issues or problems recognised by the investigation and reduce the probability of recurrence

4.4. Ensure the selected course of action can be implemented in accordance with relevant national, state and industry standards

5. Prepare and present investigation reports

5.1. Prepare investigation reports in accordance with specified standards

5.2. Present reports in a format, which ensures that findings, causes, options and courses of action can be readily understood by audience

5.3. Present the reports, including findings and recommendations, to the required audience

5.4. Review the investigation process and pass recommendations for process changes and improvements to the appropriate authority

Required Skills

Required skills

Specific skills are required to achieve the performance criteria in this unit, particularly for the application in the various circumstances in which this unit may be applied. This includes the ability to carry out the following as required to conduct safety and health investigations:

apply legislative, organisation and site requirements and procedures

locate, interpret and apply relevant legislative and operational information

identify and/or confirm the linkages between factors and outcomes, causes and effects and direct/indirect causal relationships

apply technical literacy and communicate sufficiently to interpret and apply common industry terminology, and interpret work procedures and processes

speak in plain English and communicate orally with supervisors and other employees

question and listen actively, e.g. when obtaining information of technical working practices

write effectively to allow report writing

plan and organise sufficiently to prepare and apply investigative processes

apply teamwork skills sufficient to involve and engage the employers/supervisors in the investigation processes

solve problems to assess technical mining issues

apply presentation skills to deliver report to various levels of industry

Required knowledge

Specific knowledge is required to achieve the Performance Criteria of this unit, particularly its application in a variety of circumstances in which the unit may be used. This includes knowledge of the following, as required to conduct safety and health investigations:

legislation and regulations

topic or subject area which is the target for the investigation

theory of safety and health investigative research and analysis

symptoms and possible immediate effects of post traumatic stress in an investigation situation

appropriate industry context

site procedures and conventions related to safety and health investigations

site risk management processes and their applications

conventions and requirements for written communications, including report writing

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

The evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit must be relevant to worksite operations and satisfy all of the requirements of the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge and the range statement of this unit and include evidence of the following:

knowledge of the requirements, procedures and instructions for conducting safety and health investigations

implementation of requirements, procedures and techniques for the safe, effective and efficient completion of safety and health investigations

working with others to undertake and complete safety and health investigations that meets all of the required outcomes

consistent timely completion of safety and health investigations that safely, effectively and efficiently meets the required outcomes

Context of and specific resources for assessment

This unit must be assessed in the context of the work environment. Where personal safety or environmental damage are limiting factors, assessment may occur in a simulated environment provided it is realistic and sufficiently rigorous to cover all aspects of workplace performance, including task skills, task management skills, contingency management skills and job role environment skills.

The assessment environment should not disadvantage the participant. For example, language, literacy and numeracy demands of assessment should not be greater than those required on the job.

Customisation of assessment and delivery environment to sensitively accommodate cultural diversity.

Aboriginal people and other people from a non English speaking background may have second language issues.

Assessment of this competency requires typical resources normally used in the work environment. Selection and use of resources for particular worksites may differ due to site circumstances.

Where applicable, physical resources should include equipment modified for people with disabilities.

Access must be provided to appropriate learning and/or assessment support when required.

Method of assessment

This unit may be assessed in a holistic way with other units of competency. The assessment strategy for this unit must verify required knowledge and skill and practical application using more than one of the following assessment methods:

written and/or oral assessment of the candidate's required knowledge

observed, documented and/or first hand testimonial evidence of the candidate's:

implementation of appropriate requirement, procedures and techniques for the safe, effective and efficient achievement of required outcomes

consistently achieving the required outcomes

first hand testimonial evidence of the candidate's:

working with others to undertake and complete safety and health investigation

Guidance information for assessment

Consult the SkillsDMC User Guide for further information on assessment including access and equity issues.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Relevant compliance documentation may include:

legislative, organisation and site requirements and procedures

manufacturer's guidelines and specifications

Australian standards

code of practice

Employment and workplace relations legislation

Equal Employment Opportunity and Disability Discrimination legislation

Investigations may involve a range of issues but will generally be related to:

accidents, incidents or near misses

safety and health systems and issues

safety aspects of technical processes and procedures

safety aspects of equipment specifications and performance definition

Analysis of information may be divided into five main areas including:






Site security may require:



actions to treat and/or comfort victims and witnesses

temporary engineering and stability measures

security personnel

other relevant measures

This is in order to:

create a safe environment

ensure the integrity of evidence

Information collection may include:

reconstruction of events



audio recording


scale diagrams

accessing other formal information sources

Information sources may include:

applicable commonwealth/state/territory legislation and codes of practice relating to the industry, dangerous and hazardous goods, environmental protection and OHS

emergency procedures

enterprise quality assurance procedures

manufacturer's/documentation and handbooks

materials safety data sheets

worksite communications, management and inventory systems

worksite safety management systems

worksite's rescue service publications and information

operations manuals or equivalent

personal and work area work procedures and practices

quality work specifications and procedures

workplace operating procedures and policies

Interview techniques and processes may need to be:

managed to avoid prejudicing individual legal rights

varied to avoid exacerbating post traumatic stress or similar symptoms for witnesses and involved parties

Recording and reporting requirements are:

in accordance with legislative and worksite policies and procedures

Investigation report formats may be established on a site basis but are likely to include:


general overview

research and information collection methodology

analytical criteria

findings (including essential and contributing factors)


follow-up actions

records of all relevant evidence

Investigation recommendations may include:

safety management systems

processes and procedures


equipment and materials

working environment


Occupational Health and Safety

Competency Field

Refer to Unit Sector(s).


Not applicable.

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

Refer to Unit Descriptor.