News: Investigation process

The ATSB is providing further insight into its investigation processes with the release of real-time investigation status information for all of its active investigations.

ATSB investigators at work

In addition to releasing the status of an investigation on its dedicated investigation web pages, the ATSB has also made available detailed information about its investigation phases and methodology.

ATSB Chief Commissioner Greg Hood said the changes were designed to provide a greater level of transparency into the work of the national transport safety investigator.

'The ATSB is a world class transport safety investigator and all of our investigations are undertaken in a meticulous and thorough manner, in accordance with both national and international legislation and standards. While our legislative obligations prohibit the release of restricted information during an active investigation, we strive to provide as much transparency as possible during an investigation.'

Mr Hood noted that the ATSB has traditionally provided more insight into its investigations than many international counterparts, particularly regarding the provision of estimated timeframes for each investigation.

'The dynamic and multifaceted nature of investigations can affect timeframes, which are always provided as an estimation.

'We understand that the length of time it takes to conduct a thorough investigation can sometimes generate frustration and uncertainty for directly involved parties such as next-of-kin, and for the interested general public.

'Australia actually performs very well against international investigation timeframes, particularly with  aviation investigations where our overall completion timeframes were assessed by the International Civil Aviation Organization as being around half of the global average.'

Mr Hood said investigation timeframes are impacted by two primary factors—available resourcing and the unpredictable and often complicated nature of serious incidents and accidents.

'It is important to note that, even if the timeframe of an investigation is extended, if the ATSB discovers a critical safety issue during an investigation we immediately bring it to the attention of relevant parties to be addressed.'

To better reflect the dynamic and multifaceted nature of investigations, the ATSB has now amended its web pages to reflect an expected completion date as a quarter, rather than a month.

Those who would like to be kept informed of ATSB releases can subscribe via the ATSB website.

Last update 02 May 2018