Investigating major technological accidents

A serious challenge

Contemporary society has a number of needs that have been generated by industrial facilities that come with significant risks. The socially responsible approach is to assume these risks locally, but they should also be optimally managed on an ongoing basis.

Risks generated by industrial facilities often go beyond strict geographical limits. Action must be taken to prevent accidents with serious consequences, despite the fact that they may not occur very often. Especially as, when accidents do occur, root cause analysis can quickly become very complex as several parallel investigations are carried out different entities, with different, and sometimes incomptible ideas.

An evolving entity

ICSI and its partners share a commitment to maintaining industrial activities, particularly in the most sensitive facilities (high threshold under the Seveso directive) located in regional areas, while encouraging them to improve risk management. From the beginning, ICSI and FonCSI have provided input into the public debate on this issue by combining innovative practices and the shared expectations of the various parties in the context of a multidisciplinary research approach.

Consequently, this Discussion Group was officially launched in October 2014. Its aim is to consider the conditions needed so that only one investigation is carried out into all of the observed phenomena and the overall context, without any a priori assumptions. This comprehensive analysis should enable the various parties involved to carry out their work - whether this means the identification of who was responsible, or the development of recommendations to improve safety.

Improving the investigation process is an important element of acculturation about the need to assess risks and the measures needed to manage them. This approach helps to improve public confidence in the debate about classified installations, which is linked to the aims of another of ICSI's Discussion Groups, "The Negotiated Social Contract".