A function of the rail safety regulator is to identify the safety issues that have caused a specific incident or series of incidents to occur. Statutory investigations require in-depth, independent examination of an event or series of events to identify failures that must be addressed to prevent reoccurrences.
The Rail Safety team conduct investigations in a systematic and methodical way to ensure that they are thorough and evidence based. Investigations are independent and impartial in the best interests of rail safety.
An investigation may be initiated through a range of circumstances, including the following:
The objectives of an investigation are to:
In selecting what incidents, events or situations to investigate, the Rail Safety team will take account of the following factors:
Investigations generally consist of:
There are a number of tools and functions available to the Rail Safety team following an investigation. The decision on what action to take is determined by consideration of a number of factors including:
The Rail Safety team investigation process can be summarised by the following diagram which covers key stages.
Many rail investigations are conducted concurrently with another agency or organisation, depending on the nature of the investigation. In particular, Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC), New Zealand Police and/or Work Safe may be investigating the same incident or event. Where possible the Rail Safety team work with other agencies to minimise the impact and uncertainty of affected parties to ensure optimal usage of resources.