In spite of all our knowledge, technology and procedures, major accidents and even disasters do sometimes occur. By carrying out investigations and drawing lessons from them, processes and organisations can be made safer.
The Dutch Safety Board is an independent administrative body which operates independently from the Dutch government and other parties. As the Board decides for itself which incidents and subjects it will investigate, it focuses primarily on cases where citizens depend on other parties to guarantee their safety, such as the government, businesses or institutions.
Learning from incidents
The Dutch Safety Board investigates specific incidents as well as broader safety issues and unsafe situations that have arisen gradually. Its investigations are intended not only to ascertain direct causes but also to consider structural safety failings and administrative processes that have an impact on safety. The purpose of all Board investigations is to learn from the incidents and to make recommendations in order to improve safety. Its investigations do not address issues of blame or liability.
Investigation in every area
The Dutch Safety Board is authorised to conduct investigations in nearly every area and sector. In addition to incidents in the aviation, shipping, railway, chemical and petrochemical industries, the Board investigates incidents in the construction and health-care sectors, as well as military incidents at the Ministry of Defence. The Dutch Safety Board can also carry out investigations into how Dutch parties are dealing with incidents abroad that have consequences extending to the Netherlands. In certain cases, the Board is under an obligation to carry out an investigation. At an international level, the Board plays a role in carrying out safety investigations under international treaties and European legislation. Where necessary, the Board works in conjunction with foreign investigative bodies.